I truly do believe that the gift of friendship is a blessing that makes life richer. I think the saying that, “A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are” get its right.  Anyway, in the midst of settling in, I had a quiet lunch with Dean Todd Shields.  Todd is a great guy who is the dean of the Graduate College & International Education at the University of Arkansas.  He was recently appointed permanent dean after serving as interim for a year.

One of the things that has bonded us (besides as you might imagine an irreverent sense of humor) is our conversations about leading with kindness.  Before becoming dean, Todd was a department chair and whenever I was feeling down, it was as though he had a sixth sense and would call, and we’d have lunch or a glass of wine after work and visit.  He’s quite the encourager.

Thursday was our semi-regular lunch date.  Todd was checking in to see how the transition was going and for us to more generally catch up on things because we hadn’t visited in a while given our schedules.  We decided to make the healthy choice and went to Paneras’s for salads. There’s a summer salad on the menu now, with strawberries that is yummy. It’s important for salads to be interesting to be enticing.  We had a good visit with lots of laughter, and a thoughtful exchange about how to tackle our different challenges.  Itwas a nice break, and a relaxing healthy lunch with a good friend.

 Afterwards, it was time to say goodbye to a long time law school colleague, Sally Kelley.  Sally had been with the law school 23 years before deciding to begin a new chapter in her life including her upcoming marriage to University of Arkansas Professor Emeritus John King.  Sally worked in the National Agricultural Law Center, and had been its librarian since it was founded in 1988.  In that capacity, she provided reference service to Center Attorneys, graduate agricultural law students, the law school community, and she fielded national and international reference inquiries.  Sally created the Center’s website in 1995, and published 6 bibliographies on agricultural law in four different law reviews.  In recognition of her service to the University of Arkansas, Sally has been granted the title of Research Professor and Librarian Emeritus by the Board of Trustees. The law school community gathered Thursday afternoon for a going away party and to wish Sally well.  Harrison Pittman, the Director of the Center sang a few songs on his guitar, and of course there were many well-wishes and some special gifts for Sally. If you think about it, Sally’s event recognized both a beginning and an end.  Best wishes Sally & John!