This morning after eating my usual three bananas at my desk and sipping my second cup of coffee I perused the Chronicle of Higher Education website as I occasionally do to try and stay on top of things. One article caught my eye: Thirteen Years of a College Presidency by Laura Skandera Trombley.
Dr. Trombley had written an article spanning the beginning of her presidency at Pitzer College through her term that will end in June. In a well-written piece she emphasizes the “fear” (twice), “anxiety, excitement, and optimism” she felt starting out, punctuated by “sleepless nights and constant worry” throughout her presidential experience. She mentions a lack of time to do much of anything, the inability to mark off as completed the multitude of items on the countless lists that she made for herself, and a wide variety of things over which she had little control that included student misbehavior, faculty insurrection, difficult donors, demanding board members, the economy, lack of exercise, and a longing for the solitude and comfort she felt when she was deeply engaged in her own research.
An interesting and well-written article, although not particularly uplifting. And also not exactly an advertisement for recruiting people to the position of college president. Fortunately for me, it is not at all similar to my experience at the University of the Southwest over the 2 months I have been here or even during my time in the President’s Office at my previous institution.
True there are a few sleepless nights that come with this job just like any other from time to time. And yes there are many nights where tossing and turning is a constant reminder that in the office remains much unfinished business. It is also the case that most nights bedtime cannot come soon enough unless the San Antonio Spurs are playing late and I hope to stay awake long enough to catch all of the fourth quarter. But most mornings I wake up half an hour before my 6AM alarm with thoughts of a new day ahead and opportunities for which I am thankful.
At USW the future is bright. Not because of my leadership per se, but because we have great students, faculty, staff, and trustees who are deserving of our best efforts. Great also because our faculty, staff, and trustees all want to see our students succeed. And great because God is good and we can say and believe that here.
It is my privilege to serve as the 11th President of the University of the Southwest. Our faith and commitment will carry us forward in times of transition and challenge as together we embrace the hope for a bright and prosperous future. It’s always a great time to be a Mustang and it’s a great time to be one now!