Greetings from the state of Kansas! I was very excited to be named as the 11th President of Washington State University on Friday and can’t wait to get started. Following the announcement, I wanted to send a brief note of introduction and greetings to start your week.
I have had the pleasure of working at 4 different land-grant institutions throughout my career as a student and faculty member, including Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Kansas State, and now Washington State. While each institution is distinct—the common themes of excellence, affordability, and accessibility are characteristics of each of these outstanding public universities.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for our university—and will need to spend my first 6 months getting to know Washington State. I would like to know your dreams and aspirations—what is it that you would like to see WSU grow into as we look out over the next decade? While I can certainly read a lot of information about Washington State online—in my experience a university is really about the faculty and staff who have committed to providing a great educational experience for our undergraduate and graduate students. To that end, I will place significant priority around campus communications and listening to the campus community. I welcome your feedback at any time (firstname.lastname@example.org) whether it is constructive criticism, praise for achievement, or creative suggestions for improvement.
I will plan to send a monthly letter to the campus community sharing my learning experiences and updating all of you on new initiatives, budgetary issues, aspirational opportunities, and anything else which I believe is important to communicate to the entire Cougar nation. I also intend to visit each college this fall to introduce myself, discuss upcoming initiatives, and hear your suggestions and concerns for our future. Additionally, I plan to visit each of our statewide WSU campuses and extension sites on a regular basis. Finally, I am active on social media, and would encourage those who are interested to follow my Twitter feed @WSU_Cougar_Pres. It is very difficult for any president to over communicate to the campus community—I will do all I can to ensure everyone feels informed and listened to!
I have been to the Pullman campus a couple of times earlier in my career as an ABET evaluator for Chemical Engineering and as co-chair of the 2007 Chemical Engineering Summer School held on campus. Noel and I look forward to exploring the Pullman-Moscow area, discovering new restaurants and eating spots, learning about Washington wines and craft beers, and finding cool places to park our 25-foot Airstream camper throughout the state of Washington (suggestions welcomed!).
I am very honored to have been selected as your new President and look forward to an exciting journey together.