Jewel of a Place
© 2017 by Ed Chasteen
A college campus is a mythical and magical place where live ancient Greeks, English poets, black holes, string theory, Don Quixote, Adam Smith, Mark Twain, Beethoven, idealism, imagination and ideas. Right from grad school I came years ago to a hilltop campus called William Jewell in a small town called Liberty and became colleague to some of the finest teachers I ever would know.
More than 50 years now at Jewell, I never for a day have considered it a job. “I just do what I love. And they pay me for it” So I have said more times than I can count. So good for me has been my time at Jewell that I have dreamed another college and given myself another name. Phillip is my name and Sapphire is the college.
For years at Jewell, I taught my students the Thomas theorem: “A thing defined as real is real in its consequences.” So lives Sapphire College in my mind. And from my mind to the place I know as Greater Liberty. Phillip of Sapphire College is my book available to anyone free of charge on line.
When a Klansman was elected to the Louisiana State Legislature in the 1980s, the governor invited my students and me to come help the state redeem itself. We wrote a song, designed a T-shirt, dubbed ourselves HateBusters and went to Baton Rouge. Now a 501 c-3 non-profit, HateBusters teach people how to like people and how, when, where and why to oppose hate.
Now I am custodian of Sapphire College, a creation of HateBusters. Using the model described below, Sapphire College offers a strategy designed to let loose the World Class Person who lives within each of us.
Neither Gallop nor Google shows Sapphire College or Greater Liberty on their maps. Like Brigadoon and Camelot, these are not so much places to be found as principles to bring us higher.
We all have Greater Liberty than we ever know to live above and beyond all the labels that other people apply to us. Each of us is more than our color, our culture, our creed, our age, our gender. Each of us is at our core a World Class Person, able to go anywhere at anytime and talk to anyone about anything and feel safe. To let loose the World Class Person in each of us is the sole and soul objective of Sapphire College.
Sapphire was born from all the good things I experienced at William Jewell, a place high on a hill in a town called Liberty. I rode my bicycle for years from my home in Liberty to my office at Jewell. One summer I rode that bicycle from Orlando to Seattle to Anaheim, and on my longest days I would ride 125 miles. So when I was home, I drew a 125-mile circle around our town and called it Greater Liberty.
North to Creston, Iowa and south to Carthage, Missouri; west to Manhattan, Kansas and east to Columbia, Missouri. Parts of four states with 104 counties, some three million people. All no more than a day’s bike ride apart. People of all colors, cultures and creeds as neighbors.
Sapphire College meets inside every mom and pop cafe in every county-seat town in Greater Liberty where two people sit across from one another for breakfast. The college comes to life when these two have read on line their free copy of How To Like People Who Are not Like You; and, after having done so, ask each other by email/phone/in person the seven sets of questions given to them by Sapphire College. The seven sets of questions appear below, just prior to the list of 104 Greater Liberty county-seat towns.
Go to www.hatebusters.com and click on “books” to download your free copy of How To Like People Who Are not Like You. You may also download other books. Any. Or all. Free.
Sapphire College Students
Open to all
A desire to become a World Class Person the only requirement
Work at your own pace
Seven Sets of Questions
Name of your parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters.
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Where did you go to school?
Why did you want to be part of this project?
What are some of your earliest memories?
What was it like growing up?
Where do you brothers and sisters live now?
How important to you is your family?
What was the role of the husband and father in the family you grew up in?
What was the role of the wife and mother in the family you grew up in?
What is the role of the husband and father in the family you are a parent in?
What is the role of the wife and mother in the family you are a parent in?
What do you like to eat?
What is your very favorite food?
What kind of jobs have you had?
What is your present occupation?
What is your religious faith?
What religious organizations do you belong to?
How often do you participate in activities with these organizations?
What are the important books and other writings that have shaped your life?
Could you tell me what you believe about how your faith relates to other faiths?
Is your faith related in any way to the food you eat?
How important to you is your faith?
How do you think the different religions and races in America relate to each other?
How do you think they should relate to each other?
What are the important days in the year to you?
How do you celebrate the important days in your life?
How would you describe the way you live your life?
What do you hope will happen in your private life over the next three years?
What do you think will happen in the world in the next three years?
What would you say is your greatest fear?
What would you say is your greatest joy?
How would you describe America?
What do you think America’s role in the world should be?
How would you like to be remembered?
What does your faith teach about how we should live our lives?
What does your faith teach about life after death?
Greater Liberty County seat towns
Clay Center, KS
Cottonwood Falls, KS
Council Grove, KS
Falls City, NE
Ft. Riley, KS
Ft. Scott, KS
Grant City, MO
Jefferson City, MO
Kansas City, KS
Mound City, KS
Mount Ayr, IA
Nebraska City, NE
Overland Park/Olathe, KS
Platte City, MO
Red Oak, IA
St. Joseph, MO
Yates Center, KS