My fellow UVM community members,
I write on this my first day on the job with a great sense of honor and gratitude to be joining you at this storied university.
Since the day I was announced as president, I have heard from so many colleagues at Purdue and elsewhere about their UVM connections. About having attended UVM, or taught here, or spent sabbatical terms here. And without exception, their recollections were fond and nostalgic. Many seemed to wish (did I detect an undertone of envy?) that they could still be here in Burlington.
While I had sensed some of the charm and mystique of this university nestled in the viridis montis from my visits, the impact of landing here on the first day of summer last week with my family was incomparable. I can now see what drives so many from outside the state to come here, and stay to call it home. We look forward to fully immersing ourselves in the Vermont community, benefiting from all it offers, and making some small measure of contribution ourselves.
I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to meet with hundreds of welcoming and engaged UVM community members over the last few months. My visits with our esteemed senators, congressman, governor, and many other friends and stakeholders have also been most informative and helpful. But there are many more of you I want to meet, and much I look forward to learning and digesting about UVM.
When we run into each other in Central Campus Dining for lunch, Campus Rec for a quick workout, the Dairy Bar to then reward myself, or the Fleming Museum to soak up the treasures it offers, I hope you will step up and help me further appreciate all that is great about UVM, and how we can work towards an even better future.
It is hard to miss the steady stream of news regarding the challenges facing higher education, within our state and across the nation. UVM is not immune to these. But with all of our assets – most importantly our impressive students, faculty and staff – we are better equipped than many to weather these challenges and also thrive with ever higher-quality educational offerings, impactful research and scholarship, and meaningful engagement with our community to match our land grant mission. Central to our mission is our students. Their success will be my number-one priority.
On this day of transition, I express a profound sense of gratitude to my predecessor Tom Sullivan, whose leadership has left a robust and resilient legacy.
Let me end simply by offering my unflagging commitment, dedication and energy to work with all of you to ensure an even greater tomorrow for our great university.
With my best wishes,