I underscored this message in my installation address in September because I believe that Gettysburgians possess a special responsibility and capacity to strengthen our nation’s democracy and civic institutions. We are primed for this important task, of which President Abraham Lincoln so elegantly spoke in 1863, thanks in large measure to our enduring mission and the transformative liberal arts education we provide for our students. But that mission is brought to life by virtue of the remarkable people who live our values and help to make our College such a vibrant intellectual community.
Since first assuming the role of president, I identified community as a defining characteristic of this institution. Throughout the summer months, and now the fall semester, my interactions with students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends have only reinforced this viewpoint. It is a community in which every member works with one another, and for one another, to advance knowledge and truth—or, in the words of our motto, to “Do Great Work.”
Our world today needs leaders of conscience and courage who will speak out against injustice and dedicate themselves to the common good. We need informed citizens who will engage in the pressing issues of the day, and in so doing, support the civic institutions that empower our society. These are the graduates we produce at Gettysburg College—those shaped by our distinctive community and inspired to answer Lincoln’s call.
As a newcomer to this campus, I recognize I still have much to learn about Gettysburg and all that makes this place so special to so many. I enjoyed answering your crowdsourced questions (read the Q&A feature on page 16), as well as connecting with you over Inauguration weekend. I look forward to further engaging with you, including in Washington, D.C.—the first stop on my inaugural presidential tour (visit gettysburg.edu/inauguraltour). Again, I cannot overstate how excited I am to continue to partner with you in the years ahead, to build upon the College’s many strengths, and to pursue our highest aspirations.
I want to thank you for the generous welcome you have offered to me and my family, and for your loyal support of Gettysburg College. As we press ambitiously forward, I am confident it is this sense of togetherness—our shared commitments as Gettysburgians—that will position us to thrive into the future.