October 12, 2009 10:49:00 AM
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 10:00 a.m.
Thank you for coming here today.
I think you all know that the highest professional honor in my life has been the privilege of serving as President of MUW. The faculty and staff with whom I have worked at MUW and the students whom I have come to know have enhanced and enriched my life beyond words.
But, today, I am announcing my retirement, effective at the end of my contract on June 30, 2010.
When I would retire is something that my children and I have been talking about for some time, and recently we made that decision as a family.
Because my family and I had made this decision, I thought it best that the announcement be made now rather than later, so that the Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning and the Commissioner of Higher Education would have ample time and opportunity to plan for the transition to a new president.
I want to thank this Board of Trustees and Commissioner Hank Bounds for their constant support of this campus and their constant support of me in my role as president. I also want to thank previous Board members and Commissioners who have also been extremely supportive.
Too, I need to thank the City of Columbus, Lowndes County, and the Golden Triangle for working with MUW to achieve and accomplish all that we have been able to get done. MUW is truly blessed to be located here.
My announcement today is made against a backdrop of unprecedented financial challenges facing higher education as well as all other areas of state government. But I am confident that the current leadership of Dr. Bounds and the IHL Board members will lead the IHL institutions through these difficult times. When the economy recovers--and it will--higher education in Mississippi will be stronger and more committed than ever to fulfilling its mission of educating students and improving the lives of our citizens.
I want you to know that I have truly enjoyed my work here. It has been a real pleasure to work with our faculty and staff. The staff and faculty on this campus are first-rate and totally dedicated to the education and success of our students. And that is how it should be. That is why we are here. It is all about service--nothing else but service.
I need to thank our students too. I have gotten to know many of you personally and am so proud of what you have and will accomplish. You are truly remarkable.
Additionally, a university is as successful as its affiliated organizations are in their support of their university. We are so fortunate to have our Alumni Association and our Foundation always standing ready to help us.
During my two terms here, we have had some wonderful times and some not-so-wonderful times. We have always celebrated the wonderful and we have always plowed right on through the not-so-wonderful.
So much has been accomplished, but I cannot claim that accomplishment. Every accomplishment is because we have all worked together and have made things happen that needed to happen. And we will continue working hard together during the next nine months and, after I retire, I know that you will continue that same dedication with the next president. I see nothing ahead for MUW but success. We have worked for it. We are poised for it. And it will happen.
I want to assure you that I will work as hard for MUW on my last day here as I did on my first day here. You can count on that.
I want to close my remarks this morning with some words from one of my favorite poets, T.S. Eliot, who said about transitions:
For last year''s words belong to last year''s language
And next year''s words await another voice....
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
Thank you for coming today.