Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,
This is my last week as the President of Trinity University, and I write this letter of appreciation to thank you for your support over the past seven years. I came to Trinity in 2015 because I wanted to spend the remainder of my university career devoted to the transformation that I see happening every day in the lives of undergraduate students. And Trinity’s select graduate programs enhance Trinity’s unique focus and history.
There is positive energy that can move us forward in ways we may not even imagine. As I stated during the campus receptions in my honor, we arrive at this inflection point not not only because of me - but also because of you. This is a shared journey – one in which we have suffered setbacks, grieved tragic losses, and celebrated successes together. I am excited as I envision the opportunities for the 20th President of Trinity University. I know the search has been successful and we will soon celebrate the announcement of our 20th President. My successor will build upon the work we have accomplished together.
- Students, I admire your drive to make the most of your time at Trinity. Your intelligence, compassion, and spirit of collaboration are the foundation for our unique community. The ways that you grow and change as you discover the meaning and purpose of your lives has inspired me every day.
- Faculty members, I admire the quality of your research, your commitment to our students, and the deep connections you foster. Your meaningful relationships have a lasting impact. Your connections with students truly do change lives.
- Staff members, I admire the relentless way you keep Trinity at the cutting edge. You sustain the context that allows our faculty and students to excel. You are often unsung heroes: you remove obstacles, soothe heartaches, or walk alongside students and families in moments of tragedy and loss. Your constant commitment enables students and faculty alike to pursue learning.
- Members of the Executive Leadership team, I admire your dedication. Day after day I watch you ask how you can improve the experience of our students, our staff, and our faculty. I value the ways you became open and vulnerable by encouraging, questioning, and always strengthening my leadership.
I am humbled to think about the ways our community pulled together during the pandemic. We have all had losses. We have all experienced anxiety. We have all become close friends, whether we wanted to or not, with uncertainty and risk. And, we are resilient. We have learned and lived and remembered to laugh. We have forged our own hope. Continue to extend grace and generosity to yourselves and each other. It takes time for the most important lessons and insights to emerge. After experiments with virtual ceremonies, I savored even more the joy I saw and experienced for myself this past weekend as the Class of 2022 graduated.
As I think about higher education today, I remember the creation of the University of Chicago. In 1892, founding President William Rainey Harper convened the first faculty assembly and noted: “The question before us is how to become one in spirit, not necessarily in opinion.” We live in an era when opinion is far more divergent than most of us have ever experienced. I firmly believe that we can hold and express differences without being divided. To have unity of spirit, to use Harper’s term, we must cultivate the trust and vulnerability that will enhance the sense of community at Trinity. This unity of spirit can set Trinity apart in the field of higher education by adding true energy to our mission. This unity of spirit can model for our students the kind of public life we aspire to in our nation. This kind of community is a cornerstone of belonging and inclusion.
For Kimberly and me, it has been an honor to be a part of the Trinity journey. I am excited to imagine the next stage of this journey as Trinity aims even higher to be recognized nationally for our student outcomes.
We stand on the shoulders of our predecessors. With our moonshot, we are seeing the fulfillment of their founding intentions, while also making their dreams our own, making them relevant for our twenty-first century future. Keep the focus on the goal. It has been an honor to be a part of the Trinity journey while I served as President. Because of all of us together, Trinity is a force in motion.