On Friday, Sept. 29 the rains poured heavily on the thousands assembled in Tercentenary Theatre at Harvard University. But the bad weather was no match for the electric enthusiasm of those gathered to share in the inauguration of the 30th president of Harvard University.

Dr. Claudine Gay’s official induction was no ordinary event as it has been for the previous 29 presidents. She is Black, female, of Haitian parentage and ascended to the presidency from her previous role as a dean.

The leap from dean of faculty of arts and sciences to a college presidency is rare. The typical trajectory is to advance from the position of dean to senior vice president, then provost or other upper-echelon academic positions, then from one of those positions to the presidency. Her rise is truly a remarkable ascension.

The festivities were witnessed by a deep cohort of Vineyard residents. Professors Henry Louis (Skip) Gates Jr., David Wilkins, Evelyn Higginbotham and Kim Lew marched in the faculty procession. Professors Sara Bleich, vice provost for the Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery initiative, and Dr. Paula Johnson, president of Wellesley College — both of whom have been Independence Day speakers at Union Chapel — also graced the ceremony with their presence.

Oak Bluffs residents Pam Everheart, Brent Henry and Carolyn Coverdale were cheering from the stands. Summer visitors Priscilla Douglas and Ron Crutcher were strategically placed in the crowd.

The music, academic regalia, presence of previous Harvard presidents Larry Summer, Drew Faust and Larry Bacow, the presentation of the college symbols of power and authority by Penny Pritzker, senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation, the visual of Ms. Gay sitting in the notoriously uncomfortable Holyoke Chair reserved exclusively for the Harvard president...all combined to make an indelible impression on all in attendance. All can say with pride, “I was there!”

Professors Charles Ogletree and Lani Guinier were sorely missed. Rest in peace.

Ms. Gay’s inaugural address was titled Courage to be Harvard. Her plea for her university to tackle the issues of the day in academia and in society with curiosity, innovation and collaboration might just as well apply to those of us that care about Martha’s Vineyard. I always refer to the Vineyard as “my paradise“ and Ocean Park as my ninth wonder of the world. But even with these fine appellations we face scarce, expensive housing for our full-time residents and seasonal workers. I witnessed volunteers distributing food to the needy at the Good Shepherd Parish center on School street on Saturday morning, underscoring the problem of food insecurity on the Island. We worry about the availability and quality of water in Oak Bluffs and the eroding East Chop Bluff. And we face other obstacles that threaten the Vineyard way of life that we value and cherish. We could all heed Ms. Gay’s charge!

We must build new coalitions with local residents, organizations and experts who are here and who don’t live here yet appreciate that, like Harvard, Martha’s Vineyard is a national treasure that speaks to nature, institutions of culture and heritage, people of all nationalities, races and religions.

Ms. Gay argues that Harvard — and I insert Martha’s Vineyard — must face its problems with courage. Listen to her powerful words, “Courage is a disposition. It does not whine, or complain, or wring its hands. It also does not pretend that risk and challenge do not exist. Courage faces fear and finds resolve.” And so we must go forward with courage and find resolve here on the Vineyard as well!

More and more people are beginning to enjoy the shoulder seasons on the Island. Raub Welch has just arrived in Oak Bluffs from Chicago and will be on-Island for the month of October, developing artwork that will be exhibited in 2024.

Raub is here courtesy of the Andrea E. Benard Artist Grant, an unrestricted award of $20,000 for a visual artist. The grant was announced last July by Clinee Hedspeth at the end of a lecture about African-American art that she gave at the Oak Bluffs Library. Ms. Hedspeth is with Phillips auction house and surprised her mother Andrea with the announcement of the grant program.

His residency is also supported by the Betty Holloway Sawyer Artist-in-Residence award established by Carol Sawyer to also honor her mother, Betty. This award provides housing and artist development on Martha’s Vineyard to emerging and established visual artists.

Congratulations to both Clinee and Carol for honoring their mothers while supporting gifted artists such as Raub Welch.

The Oak Bluffs library also hosted the Personal Librarians Book Chat last week. It was established in 2021 by two sorority sisters and college friends based in Houston, Tex. Dr. Tammy Smithers and Tyra Metoyer galvanized a small group of women to chat only one time to discuss The Personal Librarian, a historical fiction novel co-authored by Victoria Christopher Murray and Marie Benedict. This initiative has grown substantially and the book club now visits many places to learn more and read more fiction.

In addition they have expanded their interests by amplifying more information about Black women. I had the pleasure of sharing with 11 club members the history of women such as Dorothy West, Lois Mailou Jones, Henrietta Shearer, Doris Jackson, Kahina Van Dyke, Aliya Browne, The Cottagers, Luella Coleman and so many more accomplished Black women from the Vineyard.

I thought I was at Lola’s on Friday night as the music played outside and scores were dancing and enjoying the fabulous weather at Nomans. The transformation from Lola’s to Nomans has been phenomenal, from the physical environment, eclectic menu, customer-friendly use of the sprawling lawn and more. Yes, it was the Last Dance of the season but 2024 awaits!

Thanks to Cheryl Grimes and Vivian Beard for getting the word out on the year-end Inkwell Cookout this past weekend. We celebrated the successes of the season and paid homage to those that have transitioned.

Joseph Edelin — Morehouse man and fourth-generation Vineyarder — married Christina Haywood on Sept. 15 in Atlanta. Approximately 150 guests convened from across the country to witness and celebrate the union of this dynamic couple. The ceremony was officiated by Judge Glenda Hatchett. The bride is a graduate of Florida State University and is the daughter of Cecilia Haywood and the late Charles Haywood of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Joseph’s family has been on Nantucket avenue across from Waban Park since his great-grandmother purchased a cottage there. His parents are well-known on the Island. His mother Barbara has curated many social and cultural events on-Island as president of Edelin Events. His late father, Dr. Kenneth C. Edelin, organized many forums here in his capacity as a board member of Planned Parenthood and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Joseph and Christina visited the Island this summer in anticipation of their wedding and are currently honeymooning in Costa Rica.

Paradise on earth is living the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as life is fleeting. Randall Edward Taylor, rest in peace.