Saturday, November 9, 2013

Inaugural reflection

My heart is full, and I am humbled.

Thank you to all who made yesterday's celebration of my inauguration and, more importantly, the celebration of the great institution of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire such an amazing event.

My heart is full as I think back now on our gathering in the W.R. Davies Student Center, where I looked about at the faces of so many joined to celebrate the history and future of our university. I am humbled as I recall the support I felt from all those gathered for the occasion: my family, friends and lifelong mentors; the talented and dedicated faculty and staff with whom I have the privilege of working every day; our university foundation and alumni leadership; our partners from the Ho-Chunk Nation; UW System leaders and colleagues; state legislators and community leaders; proud Blugold alumni; community members who love this university; and everywhere, our outstanding students.

We talked about the history that has led us as a university to where we are today. We were moved by the eloquent words of our esteemed Professor of English and Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Max Garland, as he shared with us his beautiful poem, "For a Dedication by the River," written just for the occasion. We were lifted by the music of our unbelievably talented students. We talked about the work we will do together, building on our university's tradition of audaciously serving the public good and advocating for all who seek a college education to be able to achieve that goal. And we were reminded of the joy we will find in working together to serve our mission.

Thank you to all who planned and contributed in any way to this wonderful celebration. It is a day I will carry in my heart for years to come, and I am energized to move forward together in our important work for our students, our region, our state, our nation and our world.