Ad Astra with Michael Shonrock


  • Standing Upon the Threshold

    December 24, 2014

    A glance at the calendar reminds us that a new year is just around the corner. But we didn’t need a piece of paper to remind...

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  • Serving Those Who Serve

    November 25, 2014

    This month we celebrate Veterans Day, and I want to honor our servicemen and women by sharing with you a special Ad Astra about ...

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  • Things that go Bump in the Night

    November 5, 2014

    Every campus has a ghost story or two.   Probably the most famous story comes from Boston University, where Shelton Hall is ...

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  • Do Not Flinch

    October 22, 2014

    At the end of “Dead Poet’s Society” (1989), literature professor John Keating – played brilliantly by ...

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  • Don't Let Fear Win

    October 8, 2014

    What are you afraid of? Before you answer, let me tell you a story about a man who had a secret. John J. Ingalls was a lawyer and ...

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  • What's Your Elevator Phrase

    September 25, 2014

    We all have an elevator phrase whether we know it or not. When I first arrived in Emporia, my elevator phrase went something like ...

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  • The Common Language of Kansas

    September 3, 2014

    When the explorer Zebulon Pike crossed Kansas in September 1806, he stood on a hill somewhere in Chase or perhaps Marion County ...

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  • Toward Full Human Rights for All

    August 22, 2014

    Our commencement this year fell on May 17, the 60th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of ...

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  • Not Exactly A Soup Question

    August 6, 2014

    “Where do I fit in? What am I supposed to do with my life?” These are questions that haunt most of us at one time or ...

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  • What's Next

    July 16, 2014

    Summer has finally arrived and I’m taking the change of pace to watch some of my all-time favorite movies. This week it was ...

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  • The Chicago Connection

    July 9, 2014

    I made a call to Al Slappy today. Al is the current president of the Emporia Eastside Community Group, and I just wanted to say ...

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  • The Boxing Lesson

    June 25, 2014

    When I was a kid I lived by the Midway Airport in Chicago and went to a school where everybody, it seemed, was bigger and stronger...

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  • Stand Up and Lead

    June 11, 2014

    Raise your hand if you are completely comfortable with the unknown. No? OK, let’s try again. Raise your hand if you are ...

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  • Popcorn and Circumstance

    May 28, 2014

    Let me tell you about three people who, combined, have over 100 years of experience in commencing our students. The locations have...

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  • How A $3 Bonus Formed A Career

    May 7, 2014

    He was a college dropout and a part-time drummer for local dance bands, and he began his career in newspapers with a camera, after...

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  • Back to the Bellwether

    April 16, 2014

    Whenever I tell someone I’m from Kansas, I always get this all-knowing-somewhat-familiar-apologetic-slight-raise-of-the-...

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  • To the Future, through Difficulty

    March 31, 2014

    Imagine it’s 2063. A copy of this column has been sealed inside a stainless steel box hidden in the lobby of the Memorial ...

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  • Coach Kramer's Biggest Play

    March 19, 2014

    Earlier this year our community celebrated the life and legacy of one of the winningest football coaches in our history — ...

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  • Moving at the Speed of Students

    February 26, 2014

    What if I told you I could make an ordinary postcard come to life just by waving my smart phone over it like a magic wand? Are you...

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  • Athens on the Plains

    February 12, 2014

    Vachel Lindsay was a poet who, a hundred years ago, gave us a book about walking across Kansas. I introduced you to Lindsay in my ...

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  • A Landscape of Character

    January 29, 2014

    There’s something about the Kansas landscape that shapes character. Just take a walk in the Flint Hills, and you’ll ...

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  • Just Call Me Michael

    January 17, 2014

    Let me tell you about the time, in my early days as president, when I tried to hire a student and was told, “We do not hire ...

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  • Under a Lucky Star

    December 31, 2013

    Search the Emporia State University campus on Google Earth and you will find a little surprise. Look carefully on the rooftop of ...

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  • Emporia State's Own Jackie Robinson

    December 18, 2013

    Let me tell you about a remarkable photograph in the archives here at Emporia State, of the school’s first baseball team. ...

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  • Making Hope A Habit

    November 21, 2013

    Back in April, Shane Lopez—the world’s leading expert on the psychology of  hope—came to Emporia State to ...

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  • Kansans Forged Vision of Peace in Midst of War

    November 15, 2013

    When the idea for Emporia State was conceived by the Kansas Legislature in 1863, the country was, as Abraham Lincoln would put it ...

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  • Expectations

    November 1, 2013

    Last spring I spent a day driving around Kansas with our Dean of the Teachers College, Ken Weaver. We were visiting ESU alumni. ...

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  • Homecoming

    October 25, 2013

    When I left home for college, my grandfather drove me from Chicago to Macomb, Ill., in his 1970s beige Chrysler Newport. My ...

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  • The Classroom of Life

    October 15, 2013

    Not too long ago I learned to tweet. I sent 12 messages in my fledging month of tweeting – six of them on the first day.&...

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  • Our Sense of Place

    September 25, 2013

    When I’m having one of those days, I like to go for a drive in the Flint Hills. I find there is always a new discovery over ...

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  • Practicing Optimism

    September 11, 2013

    I’m a natural optimist. Or, perhaps I should say I’m a practicing optimist, because optimism is a talent that must be ...

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  • Who Is Your Rosa Parks?

    August 28, 2013

    I was asked this question recently.  It made me pause to consider the contributions of one individual to all of humanity. ...

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  • The Value of an Education

    August 16, 2013

    My grandfather had an 8th grade education. Grandmother was a self-taught nurse. Not the kind of nurse you want if you really need ...

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    July 31, 2013

      Let me tell you about one of my favorite movies. “Under the Tuscan Sun” is the story of a writer, played by ...

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  • Welcome Home

    July 10, 2013

    We’d been waiting about nine hours, sequestered in a Topeka hotel room knowing that somewhere in the city were two other ...

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