I was so impressed with the hospitality expressed toward me. I also know that this is the same genuine warmth that is shared with all visitors to campus, and has become a hallmark of Methodist University. My day started by being greeted by Jeff Headman, president of SGA and Lacey Truelove, Miss Methodist University. I couldn’t have thought of a better way to be welcomed to the community than by two of our finest students. I then had a wonderful meeting with the Administrative Cabinet, and was impressed with their comments and updates on the university in their respective areas. Methodist is fortunate to have such a competent and passionate leadership team. The university is especially indebted to Dr. Del Crisp who has served as Interim Executive Vice President since President Hendricks’ retirement on December 31. We all owe Dr. Crisp a debt of gratitude for his service these past few months.
I enjoyed walking around the campus (along with Dr. Crisp), meeting students in faculty in the academic buildings and seeing them engaged in teaching and learning. Many of the facilities I toured were of exceptional quality, and I can see why we are successful in recruiting talented students and faculty to Methodist. I look forward to seeing other parts of the campus in the days ahead, and as I visit the buildings and the people, I am taking special note of their suggestions on how we might improve Methodist, including the improvement of any of our facilities that need to be updated.
During my campus tour, I met a prospective student and his mother who were on their own campus tour. I wish you could see the sparkle in his eyes as I introduced myself. I could tell that he was both impressed with what he was seeing, and at the same time a little overwhelmed with the idea of heading off on a bold new venture. In many ways I felt the same way, and told him that we would both be “freshmen” if he enrolled in the fall. Based on the smile on his mother’s face and his reaction, I think we will see this young man in the fall.
Two of the highlights of my day were meetings with the faculty and students. I was impressed by the quality of questions and comments in each meeting. With the faculty, it is clear that they care about the future of Methodist, and want to do everything in their power to help in attracting the best students at Methodist and seeing that they succeed. The best way to summarize the discussion is that it was student-centered, acknowledging that our number reason for being here is to serve students and to deliver on the educational promise that is implied when each student enrolls at the university. I look forward to ongoing conversations with the faculty so that we can identify specific ways to move Methodist forward.
I was equally impressed by the conversation with the students, and it was not surprising that many of their questions and concerns were those shared by the faculty. It was equally true that these young people are passionate about Methodist and want to play a role in shaping a bright future.
I wish all members of the greater Methodist community could have attended these two meetings, as they would have been so impressed with the excitement and energy exhibited by these individuals. It underscores what I truly believe to be true: “the best is yet to be.”
I also had the opportunity to meet a number of staff during my first day, and I was continuously greeted with a warm smile and best wishes. I hope to make my way to each of the offices and workplaces on campus as quickly as I can so that I can personally express my thanks for the great job everyone is doing. We are so blessed to have such dedicated employees here at Methodist.
My day ended by attending an FCA gathering in the Berns Center. What an uplifting an experience as songs were sang, messages were shared, prayers were expressed, and an inspiring message was delivered by Reverend Michael Fletcher, pastor of Manna Church. I left Berns with a song on my lips that stayed with me until I went to sleep.
As I concluded my first day, I said to myself, “I have the best job in America.” And to think that tomorrow will be even better and that “the best is yet to be!”