Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Three New Ohio Presidents Inaugurated

In the last few weeks, three new presidents have been inaugurated at our members institutions, and AICUO was represented at all three.

On October 8, Mark Gordon was installed as the 18th president of Defiance College. Todd represented the association by marching in the academic procession. In fact, the photo at right
is of President Gordon immediately following his inauguration from Todd's seated perspective. For Todd, the highlight was the inaugural address.

President Gordon emphasized how inclusion and academic excellence in making independent colleges like Defiance the forces of social improvement that they are. Todd’s favorite quote summarized that thought: “An educated population provides the crucial framework for democracy and for liberty – and the thought that an educational institution’s prestige in our country is now based on its ability to keep students out, rather than its commitment to letting them in, corrodes the very essence of what education is supposed to be, to offer, and to achieve.”

Next, on October 22, Kathy Krendl took the reins of Otterbein College as its 20th president, in the presence of two AICUO staff. Todd again represented the association, while Bob Burke, AICUO’s research director, represented his undergraduate
alma mater, Harvard.

Dr. Krendl spoke about her inauguration's theme: reflect, connect, act. She reflected on her institution’s connection to values that have remained constant throughout its history, and its ability to adapt in a changing manner to reflect, connect, and act on those values. “We must act to sustain this benevolent community that celebrates equality, inclusiveness, a dedication to serving others, a determination to apply knowledge and learning to improve the human condition, and a commitment to remain a college of opportunity.”

Finally, Heidelberg University inaugurated Robert Huntington as its 14th president on November 6. Sadly, Todd arrived too late to march with the procession, delayed like others by a massive highway accident. Arriving just as the other representatives marched in, he had the opportunity to watch with what seemed to be most of the student body in the basketball arena’s stands.

As one who attends many such ceremonies, Todd found the event to have some unusual touches. Most pleasurable was the inclusion of poems from Heidelberg Professor of English Dr. William Reyer, and from Dr. Susan McCafferty, who also happens to be the wife of the new president. Dr. Huntington's call fro strengthening the institution as institution strengthens the lives of its students and the community were well received among the undergraduates in Todd's bleacher section.

—C. Todd Jones and Bob Burke