While my first semester at Wheaton has barely begun, I feel like I’ve met so many people and learned so much about this great campus already. I know I have so many more people to meet and so much more to learn, and I hope that you will continue to help me with this. Everyone on campus has been so supportive and welcoming — especially you, the students. Thank you!
Yesterday I was asked by the Chair of the Wheaton Board of Trustees, “How’s it going?” My response was simple and emphatic. I told him that I am loving every minute of it! This is an amazing place that has so much going for it. I find new excitement and energy every day from the people I meet and the opportunities I’ve had to engage in substantive ways with faculty, staff and students. Whether it was meeting with JP and the SGA officers in Providence for an early morning breakfast, or Ciara somehow cajoling me into embarrassing myself on the slack line at the Activities Fair, or enjoying a first cup of delicious coffee at the Lyon’s Den with Marina, Katrina, Stuart, Ella and Ivy Jane (BTW, is she always that whipped up???), I’m so amazed by the passion that you, the students, have for making Wheaton your home and your place. I view my role as one through which I work with you and everyone else here to make Wheaton even more special, and the way to do that is by helping you to achieve your aspirations. I can’t think of a better and more exciting job anywhere else!
Many people, of course, ask me what my goals are for both myself and for Wheaton. My goal in my first few months here is simply to learn as much about Wheaton and the people here as I possibly can. That’s where I need your help in a big way. I think you will see me around quite a bit, and I encourage you to use every opportunity possible to engage with me and to share your thoughts with me. Of course, I love to hear great things about Wheaton and your experiences here, but don’t hesitate to share your concerns and criticisms with me. The only way we will improve is if we recognize those areas where work is needed, and I promise that I won’t shy away from tackling those with you. If we don’t bump into each other, just drop me an email, DM me on Twitter, Facebook message me (I have Snapchat but I haven’t quite mastered it yet, despite Nesli’s attempts to teach me), or stop by my office. Include me in your activities, both formal and informal. I hope I get to meet just about everybody by the end of the fall semester. The best way to get to know each other is to work together and to have meaningful conversations. Let’s do that!
I hope that you are interested in learning more about me, too. I’m very interested in sharing my passions with you and enlisting more people to work with me on the things that are important to me. I have some exciting projects that I’m working on both here at Wheaton and literally around the world, and I could use a lot of help. The best way to find out about my passions and to decide if you want to be involved with me is to ask me about them.
Since I first visited the campus as President-elect in February, I have been waiting patiently for the opportunity to become fully-immersed in the community. Now that time is finally here. The summer was a great transition period for me, but your return to campus and the start of the academic year definitely signals a new beginning and new opportunities – not just for me, but for all of us. I hope you feel the same way about Wheaton that I do — that it’s great to be here! I can’t wait to work with you and to grow with you. Let’s get started!