Every student has a story.
Earlier this week the First Lady and I hosted a group of students in our home for a picnic supper on our front lawn. As is customary after a student dinner, I like to ask students what is on their minds – what they like about MU, what concerns they have, or just general observations about campus life.
At this particular dinner, the comments started with concerns about expanding Wi-Fi on campus, increasing the hours at Starbucks in the Berns Center, improved lighting in dark spots behind buildings, and more trash cans. They then went on to express their appreciation for more food options in the dining hall, landscape improvements, increased collaboration among University organizations, and excitement about all that is happening on campus.
Then one particular student raised her hand and quietly expressed her appreciation for the University “taking a chance on me.” She went on to say that there are students at Methodist who may have not necessarily performed as well as they should have in high school or achieved the best test scores, but nonetheless have promise. In essence, on behalf of all the students at Methodist who might have been considered “at risk” when they were accepted, she was expressing her thanks.
This was perhaps the most gratifying comment a student could have shared with this particular president, as I responded by saying that I, too, had enrolled at my university with the same sense of gratitude for that institution taking a chance on me, and for my family and friends believing in me. I also noted that Methodist University’s mission is to provide such opportunities to prospective students, and the history of this place is one of “taking chances” on students who come with difficulties but show promise. Once enrolled, MU is committed to working with them to ensure their success in overcoming their unique hurdles.
Every student and, indeed, every person has a story. I feel very blessed to be president of a University that takes the time to listen to these stories and embraces students where they are and helps them succeed on their MU journey and life’s journey.
That’s the Methodist way. That’s the only way.