On April 15, many around the world watched in shock as Notre Dame Cathedral burned, destroying parts of a structure that’s stood for more than 700 years. As students are preparing to graduate, let’s try to remember that the physical things we create and accumulate are always temporary and will eventually cease to be – but that the impacts we have on the lives and on the world around us are permanent. By being forces for positive change in the world around us, we create a legacy that can’t be destroyed.
In our role as a state university within the University System of Georgia, we have a blended function that allows us to offer students who enter at varying levels of academic readiness the opportunity to a achieve a quality education. Our doors are open perhaps a bit wider than those at other colleges and universities around the country – and that’s a good thing.
It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that cherry trees are in bloom. For some, allergies are an unwelcome companion to – but also a reminder of – the abundant visual beauty.
A couple of weeks back I blogged about education and democracy. This blog is part two, in a sense, and is much more immediate and concrete.
Yesterday, the State of Georgia performed an important symbolic and executive function inaugurating Mr. Brian Kemp, former Secretary of State, as the new Governor of the State. Amidst this week’s inaugural fanfare and the beginning of the 153rd Georgia General Assembly, Governor Kemp’s inauguration reminds us, and encapsulates, our democratic lifestyle in the state, the US and the Western World. It is a great thing our leaders are chosen, in Lincoln’s eloquent words, by the people, of the people, for the people.
Today is the first step on a journey for many of our students, reminding me of that Chinese proverb that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. I hope this day’s step for our students is a happy and joyful one too, and I congratulate you on being there with them as they take this first step or continue back on the pathway of learning
I hope this summer you have enjoyed some private space for rejuvenation and relaxation, as we gear up for another year of work in the very public and visible square of higher education.
It is possible to do good work—great work—and to be fulfilled and inspired. It is possible to integrate our times of laughter, relaxation and innovation with what we do to help others.
Since I published my last blog, three important enrollment initiatives have occurred. Last weekend many of us met on our Cochran, Eastman, and Macon campuses to welcome hundreds of students and their guests to our first ever fully-fledged Open Houses. I thank the many staff and faculty who did an amazing job, with many of our Facilities staff even coming in at 5 am that morning. For several weeks many of us prepared for this occasion, and it was clearly a great success.
During the course of the last two weeks, my experience of the “public square”—a metaphor I have used to describe the environment for a public university—was being at the State Capitol to meet with our representatives and senators about funding. Specifically, we are asking our elected officials to support our request for nearly $1M to begin the planning and design work in the upcoming fiscal year FY19 for renovations on our Cochran campus that are vital to enrollment growth. If we are successful, and the legislature and the Governor sign off on the University System of Georgia’s request, then we can look forward to the planning stage of our Cochran renovations beginning this summer.