As Pat and I prepare for a major transition in our lives, we find ourselves filled with a combination of nostalgia and gratitude (and maybe a little anxiety about the packing and moving that is underway). We have boxes in our basement labeled “Graduate School” and “Park District Softball Shirts” that have endured three moves with the original packing tape undisturbed. Somehow, I don’t think they need or deserve another trip in a moving van — at least the boxes that belong to Pat!
Our nostalgia and gratitude are tied to the many wonderful people we have met since our arrival in 2004 and the ways they have enriched the quality of the University. We look back with great fondness on the opportunities we have had to watch 12 new groups of students arrive in the fall and see them transformed over the subsequent four years; to see firsthand the results of faculty members who take teaching seriously but also extend themselves outside the classroom to help students achieve their goals in life; to hear the stories on a regular basis from alumni about how their experiences at IWU changed the trajectory of their lives, and to personally have the opportunity to help the University meet its challenges and achieve its highest aspirations. We have had a marvelous experience at Illinois Wesleyan, one that has enriched our lives in ways we could never have imagined.
My background is in mathematics, and I am trained to examine both sides of an equation. I get to talk everyday with students who are able to attend the University because someone made a scholarship gift. Often, I know the donor’s motivation for making the gift. When faculty members receive an endowed professorship, I know what their contributions have been and why they were selected. I also know why the alum chose to establish an endowment for this purpose. And when I walk around our quadrangles and see the facilities we have and how much they mean to all of us, I am reminded of the alumni and friends who made this possible, each one with his or her own story.
We came to Illinois Wesleyan because of the aspiration for excellence that we perceived was embraced by the faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends. We have found that perception to be true and leave with great respect and admiration for those who work each day to ensure that students receive the highest-quality educational experience possible and for loyal alumni and friends who share the vision and support the University in extraordinary ways. Illinois Wesleyan is a remarkable university. Pat and I feel enormously blessed to have been part of the Titan community for the last 11 years.
For the last time as President,