Letter to the Community
To the Bridgewater College Community:
I am honored and humbled to be chosen to serve as the next president of Bridgewater College. Suzanne and I are thrilled to be joining the BC community and we look forward to a long and ever-deepening relationship with faculty and students, staff and administration, and alumni and friends of the College. Until we meet in person, I offer these few words by way of introduction and look forward to getting to know each of you before too long.
A leadership transition is a time of both excitement and nervousness – and believe me when I say that this is as true for me as it is for you! We will have a number of opportunities this spring to get to know each other better to help in easing the nervousness, and we will have many more occasions over the next year for me to learn about your hopes and aspirations – and your concerns – as we harness the excitement to achieve a vision of excellence for Bridgewater College that is shared by all.
I was drawn to Bridgewater by your commitment to a transformative educational experience in the liberal arts tradition. I have spent the majority of my adult life in this kind of environment (as a student at Loyola, and as a faculty member and academic leader at Mount St. Mary’s and Lees-McRae) and I am a passionate advocate for the power and worth of the residential liberal arts experience. We are called to nurture intellect and talent, to pursue truth and understanding, and to cultivate judgment and respect for others - in our students and in ourselves. These are challenging times for higher education, and there is much anxiety, from many directions, about the future of the higher ed landscape. In spite of all of this, I am absolutely convinced that with thoughtfulness and perseverance, with creativity and commitment, we can shape that landscape in ways we know to be important for the success of our students today and in the years to come. Commitment to being a “college of character” and “community of excellence” highlights a fundamental principle of higher education: the pursuit of truth is an essential guarantor of human dignity. This is a principle that is both timeless and timely, one that is integral to Bridgewater’s heritage, and one that I am committed to serve – with you – as the president of Bridgewater College.
I believe deeply in the power of community and relationships that sustain and nurture a liberal arts college like Bridgewater. This sense of community permeates the classroom, the athletic fields, the alumni gatherings and the broader public sphere in which the College resides. It is why we are able to make a difference in the lives of our students. It is only by attentive care that communities and relationships are strengthened, and I look forward to our work in strengthening them together. Among these relationships, too, are those with alumni and friends who share a commitment to Bridgewater College and who express that commitment by investing in the College’s students and mission. The promise and potential of Bridgewater College, embodied in the students, faculty and staff, are compelling and worthy of support. I look forward to building and strengthening relationships with members of all the communities of which Bridgewater is a part, and gathering the financial support of those who share a vision of excellence for Bridgewater College.
Finally, a special word to our students: I trust you know already how much the faculty and staff at BC care about you and your success. My undergraduate experience was similar in many ways to yours and I know that much of my personal and professional journey has been profoundly shaped by that experience and those faculty and staff at Loyola College many (!) years ago. As a faculty member at Mount St. Mary’s, I worked with students very much like you in the classroom and lab for 13 years. My first love, I suppose, will always be teaching and research, and I come to Bridgewater now as president precisely because teaching and learning and your success are so special to me. My role now is to ensure that your experience will be the best that it can be, that you will learn and grow and surpass your wildest expectations, and that the faculty and staff and everyone who makes our campus your home are in a position to make a difference in your life that you will never forget.
Suzanne and I look forward to meeting each and every member of the Bridgewater community – and to beginning this new chapter in our lives and the BC story together.
With warmest regards,