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President Ditzler named on Midwest list

Barry McNamara
01/13/2010
MONMOUTH, Ill. — Richard C. Longworth, who last fall was the keynote speaker at Monmouth College’s groundbreaking “Roadblocks to Economic Recovery” forum, includes MC president Mauri Ditzler among seven influential individuals in the Midwest.

A senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and author of the bestselling book, “Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism,” Longworth listed “A Few Good People” in his Jan. 11 blog, “The Midwesterner: Blogging the Global Midwest.”

In his introduction to the list, Longworth wrote, “The Midwest is still struggling to redefine itself in the age of globalization, but a lot of good people are engaged in that struggle. As a difficult decade ends and a new, perhaps better, one dawns, it’s a good time to salute a few of these good people. They’re among the leaders who are setting the Midwest’s agenda for the future and who will help guide it into that future.”

Ditzler, wrote Longworth, “made news this past year by setting up the first Midwest Studies Initiative in the region. Astonishingly, until now, no Midwestern college or university even taught a course on the Midwest. In addition, most small colleges like Monmouth seemed to go out of their way to shun the communities around them and to present themselves as not really Midwestern, but as scholarly outposts in flyover territory. Ditzler, an Indiana native (who) still owns a farm near Crawfordsville, is out to change this. His program will focus on the impact of globalization on the region around Monmouth. With luck, his vision will rub off on other Midwestern colleges.”

When Longworth drew up his list, he ended up having many more names than he could initially mention. The seven he did detail are “typical of the good work going on across this region.”

“Anyone traveling around the Midwest quickly learns that the region is loaded with people who clearly see the challenges of this new global era and that the old Midwestern way of doing things doesn’t work anymore,” he wrote. “One of our jobs on the site is to put them in touch with each other, to help them leverage their work and ideas into a regional recovery.”

Also mentioned was another college president, Rob Denson of Des Moines Area Community College, who was praised for leading a campaign to get Midwestern community colleges to work together, especially in regard to training workers for green economy jobs.