Hello all ---
The new school year is almost underway in full, Longwood’s 181st year. The annual President’s Welcome tomorrow is in Jarman at 11 a.m., and I hope you can attend --- for brief remarks, Q&A as always, and of course (!) the annual parking pass drawing. With a familiar format from years past, tomorrow I’ll also be joined on stage for conversation and thoughts by three Longwood luminaries with deep perspective: Tim Pierson, our longest-serving Vice President; Jeannine Perry, our longest-serving Dean; and Lisa Mooney ’85, whose insights range from her student days to her service now as our Chief Human Resources Officer. And as usual, lunch for all faculty and staff will follow in Dorrill, a delightful occasion to be together.
These summer months have been a time of transition and continued progress on campus. I know many of you have been very busy, but I hope everyone has found opportunities in the rhythm of the summer to refresh and recharge, looking ahead with energy and enthusiasm to a new year. That is certainly the case for me.
In recent weeks especially I’ve spent time reflecting on higher education, on national issues more broadly, and on Longwood, over the decades and generations past, and ahead. Amidst real turmoil in America, as well as globally, and at universities of all kinds, we enjoy important, hugely enviable strengths. These include robust support from the Commonwealth and increasing philanthropy, a strikingly beautiful campus with wonderful new spaces either recently opened or in progress, and the spirit and momentum of being one of America’s hundred oldest colleges and universities.
Our greatest strength, of course, very truly is you --- a committed faculty and staff who believe deeply in our mission. Those of us who know other institutions well, or other walks of life, know how genuinely distinctive that is. Among the many challenges in the world today is how the nature of work itself, and of workplaces, has been changing dramatically, as we move farther and farther into a new century. This flexible, new “gig” economy perhaps has some benefits, but one of its grave downsides is there are fewer and fewer places to work like Longwood --- long-running institutions where there is real camaraderie and purpose even as we address the inevitable challenges of our day, where the work itself is noble and important (indeed, essential), and where you can grow, can contribute, and enjoy a fulfilling, long-term career.
It’s wonderful to have 2019-20 in motion, wonderful to be getting ready to welcome the class of 2023, and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.