Why would any self-respecting college student wake up at 6:30 in the morning? The answer: for the opportunity to work out with the President of the College. Throw in a free t-shirt, and it becomes almost inconceivable how any student could refrain from participating in such an event. On Wednesday, as part of Love Your Body Week, some seventy students took the opportunity to take a “Walk with Timmy J.”
My friend David and I woke up at 6:30, and reported to President Sullivan’s doorstep at 6:35. This was a full twenty-five minutes before the 7:00 walk was scheduled to commence. We were, however, five minutes too late to be among the first fifty people, all of whom received t-shirts.
But t-shirts or not, our main purpose was to walk. And so we waited in front of the President’s House for the great man to appear.
Promptly at seven, President Sullivan popped groundhog-like out from his Georgian doorway. We all clapped and cheered, “Timmy J!” upon first seeing him.
He greeted us with a wave, his green William & Mary track suit as cheery as the morning sun, and announced, “I hear that it’s someone’s birthday.” A girl to my right stepped forward, and President Sullivan proposed that we all sing to her as the two of them stood on the upper step of his porch. At the end of the song, we all clapped and one of the girl’s friends took her picture.
Then, President Sullivan bounded down the steps, into the crowd and asked, “Who’s ready to go for a walk?” Followed by, “Who knows where we’re going?”
One of the organizers of the event approached him, gave him directions, and we were off, eagerly traipsing behind the College’s highest-ranking administrator. First, we headed toward Duke of Gloucester Street and followed it about two blocks. We then turned right, went one block over and turned up Francis Street back toward the College.
President Sullivan then led us up Jamestown Road, past the Campus Center and Taliaferro Hall, and over toward the Sunken Gardens.
The way we students followed him brought to mind Aristotle’s “peripatetic school of philosophy.” Unlike Aristotle, however, President Sullivan did not lecture us on virtue, but spoke casually with students, as a friend more than as an administrator.
Our journey continued past the UC, and led to the Rec Center. As we circled William & Mary Hall, the quick pace of the walk caught up with me, and I began to feel my legs ache. I do not know if President Sullivan takes such walks on a regular basis, but if he does, he must be in fantastic shape.
Along the way to the Rec Center, President Sullivan had moved to the middle of our pack in order to meet some of the students in the back. As we rounded the Hall, the group split in two. Timmy J. and his pack went to the left, the other herd (mine) to the right. This irked a few members of my group who probably felt that there was little point in walking around campus at 7:30 in the morning without the President. Still, the two groups managed to reconvene in front of the lodges, as we went on to make a loop around Monroe Hall and Old Dominion Hall.
At this point, Timmy J. regained the lead and took us to The Daily Grind where he bid us a warm adieu. We were all sorry to see him leave – it was great to meet a pop-culture icon even if we couldn’t spend all day with him. At any rate, the t-shirts for the first fifty people to arrive that morning, and free coffee for all awaited us inside The Daily Grind. And I feel I speak for all those involved when I say that I can hardly think of a better way to start a day, even if that day did begin at 6:30.