Keynote Address for President Jo Ann M. Gora Friday, August 17, 2012, 9:00 a.m.; Emens Auditorium
Good morning. As president of Ball State University, it is my pleasure to welcome you to our annual fall convocation.
It also gives me great pleasure to introduce Hollis Hughes, the president of the Board of Trustees and twice a graduate of Ball State. Thank you for being here today.
This is going to be a different kind of convocation speech. Normally, I focus on the accomplishments of the past year and foreshadow new initiatives for the current year. Instead, this morning, I want to discuss some topics that you have told me are crucial to our university’s future. You have set the agenda for this convocation.
I've spent a lot of time this summer listening to you and thinking about what you've told me. I've personally met with quite a few faculty and heard perspectives from many others through various channels. While many of my comments refer specifically to faculty, I know they address issues that are important to everyone. While the faculty's teaching and research are core to our mission, we are all in this together. It also takes the hard work of our professional, administrative, and service staff to make us a successful university.
What I've learned this summer is that, while we are growing stronger as a university, the pace of change is challenging and uncomfortable for many of you. I want to talk candidly and directly about concerns that I've heard and what I think we can do about them, especially because one of your concerns is making my administration more transparent and participatory.
As I've thought about your comments, I'm reminded of a quote that I would cite on the first day of each of my Introduction to Sociology courses. More than a century ago, W.I. Thomas said, "If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences." Today, we say, "Perception is reality." That's perhaps an oversimplified sound bite, but our perception of a situation does drive our choices, behavior, and the future that we create for ourselves. It was true in Thomas' time, and it's still true today.
While I miss talking about Thomas with my students, his theorem has not been far from my mind of late. Who could have guessed that we would be drafting our five-year strategic plan and preparing for our reaccreditation in one of the most tumultuous periods in higher education?
There are many stories out there about what business, government, and members of the general public want from us: a more responsive, more expeditious, and less expensive education. And there is also an abundance of stories about faculty frustration with a fickle market and the swinging pendulum of politics that can intrude upon what we hold most dear: critical thinking, free inquiry, and learning for learning's sake.
You almost get the sense that an epic battle is in the making. As a nation, we are taking up sides, organizing our troops, and retrenching our positions so that each side can convince the other of the virtue of its convictions.
We need to think carefully about this choosing of sides. What do we stand for? Which position do we take?
Here’s my perception of the situation--the reality from which I work. I do not believe being responsive to the fast-changing needs of society means that we abandon our values. This is a false choice. In fact, it's a trap, and a dangerous one at that.
The real problem is that the external perceptions--the pressures--that create this "us-versus-them" thinking are very real. We are going to have to work together to understand and address these pressures. I firmly believe that if we fail to do so, we are looking precariously over the edge and risk falling into the trap I mentioned.
So let me spend some time this morning talking about these internal and external wants, desires, and perceptions, and what I think we can and should do about them.
Our strategic planning task force met with numerous stakeholder groups to gather their input over 18 months throughout 2011 and into this year. In addition, Provost King and I had candid, and sometimes spirited, meetings with department chairs in each college in the early summer. We followed those meetings by convening a smaller group of chairs and faculty to learn more. A higher education research group conducted discussion groups with faculty, associate deans and department chairs, and professional staff--10 focus groups in all. They expanded the original scope of their research, which we had planned to do for some time. They did so at my request, based on feedback we had heard from the campus at that point.
I learned some very important things this summer. The areas of concern that you expressed were very reasonable and cut across most colleges and many departments. Interestingly, the vast majority of you agree that Ball State is in a better position today than it was in 2005, when we first began our strategic plan. You almost universally praised the direction of our university. At the same time, many of you expressed your belief that these advances have come at an expensive price. The business-oriented language of being "entrepreneurial" and responsive to market needs strikes some of you as at odds with, and even opposed to, the values of the academy.
These tensions were expressed most vividly in three specific areas. Let me describe those areas in some detail first. Then I will discuss specific actions we will take to address these concerns.
The first area of dissatisfaction you shared with me was with the level of your salaries. There is discontent among many faculty about the competiveness of your salaries, both within the Mid-American Conference and as compared to other universities in the region. We have analyzed the salary data collected by the American Association of University Professors and concluded that a gap does exist. I am determined to address it. At the same time, we are convinced that we are not at the bottom of the MAC, as reported in the local press. But we are not at the top of the salary survey, either, despite the fact that we have made significant strides in the last seven years.
In a related, but separate area, you expressed concern about the university's level of support for travel. We are all justifiably proud of the more than 50 Ball State academic programs that have achieved national ranking in the last five years. We celebrate the many colleagues whose research and teaching have brought national--even international--recognition to our university. In just the last few months, Nicole Etcheson, Alexander Bracken professor of history, received the Avery O. Craven Award from the Organization of American Historians for the year's most original book on the Civil War. Teachers College received an award for exemplary culturally responsive teacher preparation from the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education and the Southern Poverty Law Center. National recognition for Ball State is a strategic goal you have been asked to accomplish. In order to do so more broadly, you want travel resources that will help you advance in your field, and you want to see the opportunities for research and professional development expanded.
In addition, I learned that immersive learning is a source of tension for many of you. Again, you recognized its tremendous successes; in fact, many of you have incredible stories of learning outcomes from immersive learning projects that are simply not possible with other forms of learning. About 16,400 students have participated in more than 1,000 immersive learning projects in the last five years, bringing our university national recognition and providing tangible results for businesses, nonprofit organizations, and communities all around Indiana--and beyond. Indeed, across the university, there is broad philosophical support for immersive learning as a transformative learning experience both for students and faculty.
On the other hand, support to help you fully engage and implement immersive learning was described by some as insufficient. You told us that you need fewer barriers and more encouragement. You want more clarity; not only about what does and doesn't count as an immersive learning project but about why it does or doesn't count. The deliverable and interdisciplinary aspects of these projects are particularly challenging and can feel almost insurmountable for some of you in certain disciplines. In short, we need a bigger tent for immersive learning.
I also learned that some of you feel that you pioneered immersive learning well before I came to Ball State. You are absolutely right. Immersive learning was in the culture when I arrived. On my very first day as president, a group of students told me that the most influential learning experience that they had here was NewsLink. In 2004-05, I visited every academic department and found similar experiences across the university. This is a story I often tell legislators and donors; perhaps I should have shared that story more often with internal audiences. When we developed the outcome measurements for our strategic plan in 2006, our baseline number for students in immersive learning projects was over 1,600 and the definition of immersive learning was drawn from the most successful of those projects.
I want to discuss one other thing I learned. Some of you feel that I believe that immersive learning is the only viable and valuable learning model. That is simply not true. I certainly wanted to take the powerful learning experiences already present here and make them more dynamic and visible, in our strategic plan, our marketing, and our fundraising efforts. What I found here was something I had never seen, and it was clearly a distinctive feature of a Ball State education--a differentiator for us as a university. The goal was to name this existing learning model and define it so it could be recognized and embraced across campus and beyond.
I've somehow given you the wrong impression, and I take responsibility for that. The fact of the matter is that I believe that traditional learning modalities are incredibly valuable, relevant, and important. They have survived--indeed thrived--for centuries, and they have done so for a reason. But I firmly believe that embracing one learning model and rejecting another is, again, a false choice. The best way to provide our students with an education--not a course, but an education that prepares them for this century--is to combine the strengths of traditional learning with more interdisciplinary, experiential models, including immersive learning.
In the 1980s, as a young professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, I was delighted to watch my students learn to make connections between seemingly unrelated information, discern meaning, think critically, experience insight, and use these new capacities to become creative. One of our most important roles as faculty is knowledge transfer--endowing our students with the capacity to analyze, synthesize, and act on that knowledge. Of course, now that world of knowledge is freely available on the Internet. Our job today is to help them know what to do with that information.
National surveys in recent years for the Association of American Colleges and Universities tell us that the abilities we are seeking to develop in our students are the same ones that employers look for in new employees: performing well in teams, working well with those different from themselves, thinking critically about complex problems, developing workable solutions to those problems, applying knowledge and skills in new settings. Immersive learning gives our graduates the tools both to do well and to do good, not only for themselves and not just for their employer, but also for their communities and for our society.
Without question what we are doing here at Ball State is very difficult--and it is exceedingly important. It will take all of us working together to accomplish our goals.
But what we do here on campus exists in a larger context we must consider. There is another perspective expressed on these important issues. It is widely held, equally real, and has equally important consequences. It is the perspective held by those outside the university with a vested stake in our mission.
The economy has been stagnant for nearly four years, after balancing on the edge of depression. Nationally, college loan debt totals close to $1 trillion, more than the total credit card debt in the United States. The book "Academically Adrift" is just one of many that stands in stark juxtaposition to what we believe we provide for our students. Authors of these books and newspaper articles assert that today's U.S. college students don't work hard enough, aren't being challenged enough intellectually, and demonstrate significantly less achievement than their counterparts in other countries.
The debate about whether college is even worth the investment has been bubbling for some time and it is growing to a boil. The hard reality is that the social capital the academy has enjoyed over most of our lifetimes is waning. Consider just a few events from this calendar year.
The governor of Florida announced that he wants to spend state money only on college curricula in the sciences, technology, engineering, or mathematics, excluding the liberal arts. A growing number of pundits point to free online courses offered by schools such as Stanford and MIT and suggest that these could replace large lecture classes in a variety of subjects at colleges across the country. Meanwhile, the University of Virginia, founded nearly 200 years ago by Thomas Jefferson and holding an endowment of more than $10 billion, spent most of this summer in turmoil. While many focused on the salacious details of a political fight, the disagreement was fundamentally over the pace of change, something that universities all over the country are forced to navigate.
Increasingly, higher education is seen as out of touch with the public's concerns. The tone of the national discourse suggests we could soon face a growing chorus of people who can not or do not wish to differentiate higher education from the likes of large corporations, banks, or government agencies.
Back home in Indiana, the state’s Commission for Higher Education has developed metrics and a funding formula--the tools that determine our university’s budget--that focus on items like the number of degrees awarded and how many students earned them in four years or less. Later this semester, I will send you a copy of the commission's strategic plan so you can read it yourself. While it discusses the importance of academic quality and institutional efficiencies--two things we excel at because of our dedicated and talented faculty and staff--you will notice that almost all of the metrics deal with quantity, with how many students we graduate and how quickly we graduate them. While we need to address quantity and time to degree, the quality of our academic experience will always come first, and we continue to stress the importance of quality and differentiation to the commission.
Turning to higher education insiders for reassurance reveals an unexpected perspective. In a column printed in The New York Times just eight weeks ago, Jeff Selingo, the editorial director of The Chronicle of Higher Education, argued that a combination of economic forces and technological change threatens the very foundation of the academy. If we don't respond, he asserted, today's universities could find themselves in unenviable company; industries from journalism to music to book publishing, he wrote, enjoyed lengthy periods of success right before epic change enveloped them, seemingly overnight. Advances in technology, Selingo argued, are changing the ways that newspapers, music stores, record companies, bookstores, and book publishers conduct business. Now we in higher education have the opportunity to ignore technology or use it to our advantage, applying these advances to help students learn in new and better ways.
Our efforts in online learning recognize that this modality, too, can play an integral role in the educational mix. Our students grew up with nearly unlimited Web access and now text more frequently on their smart phones than they send or read e-mail. Online options provide students with more flexibility and open new possibilities for innovation and collaboration among classmates. Blended with traditional classroom learning and immersive learning, digital learning can give our graduates a powerful set of skills and experiences that easily transfer into their workplaces, their communities, and our global society. Online learning helps our students graduate in four years--a metric that determines our funding. Online learning is fully embraced by this generation of students; I was not surprised to learn that 17 percent of our students living on campus are also enrolled in our online courses. Moreover, online learning creates a path for lifelong learning.
So what do these various perspectives mean for us? We cannot let our sense of loss for what once was or our fatigue with the pace of change lead us to the fallacy that, because we are not a business, we need not respond to the changes in society. Many beyond our walls are asking if what we do is, in fact, the best way to educate our future citizens and leaders--and we owe them a carefully considered and thoughtful response.
Adapting is not abandoning the ideals of the academy; it is fulfilling them. The academy has evolved many times since its inception in Europe nearly 900 years ago. It has adapted to the invention of the printing press, the Industrial Revolution, the widespread use of the personal computer, and countless other developments. Our curriculum has grown well beyond preparing clerics and nurturing elite philosophers.
In fact, Ball State itself was created during one of the seminal periods in American higher education. We were one of a plethora of normal schools that popped up all over the United States around the turn of the 20th century, driven by the desire to greatly expand secondary educational attainment across the population. Prepared and qualified teachers were a critical prerequisite to accomplishing that goal.
Now we find ourselves shortly removed from the turn of another century. The needs of society are changing again and much more quickly. Higher education is again at the center of the action. Today, a college degree is seen as a requirement for entering or remaining in the middle class. According to the American Association of Colleges and Universities, 70 percent of recent high school students enter a college or university.
So here is the good news regarding our perspective and that of the general public, which sometimes seem so very different. Student achievement is our common ground. What at first blush looks like division, like organizing our troops and preparing for battle, really isn't when you dig deeper. Parents. Students. Elected officials. Faculty. Staff. Alumni. Presidents. We all want the same thing. We all want the same thing. We want to do whatever is necessary to provide a great education for our young people, and we want to help them to find their place as thriving, contributing members of our society.
External stakeholders want to be sure that access to higher education is maximized. That translates into constraints on our budget. Internally, we want to ensure that we do not reduce our educational quality because we want to be confident that our students receive its full impact. It's not either tradition or innovation. It's not either classroom learning or online teaching. It's not either academic rigor or graduating students in four years. These issues are not a series of discrete choices. They are a continuum, a balancing act about proportion and emphasis. And with the pace of change we are facing, we have no roadmap. That is why we need to continue serious discussions about these important issues as we begin the implementation of our new strategic plan.
This is where we find common ground, because the change we face is not just ours alone. It's the new normal into which our students are graduating. I've heard from some of you that the pace of change is too much, too fast, especially as we completed one strategic plan, developed another, implemented our Enterprise Resource Planning system, and continued preparations for our accreditation visit next year from the Higher Learning Commission. I hear you. Sometimes there is just too much to do in too little time.
But now imagine trying to meet similar challenges, the same in scope and magnitude and pace, when you're just 22 years old! This is our graduates' new normal, too. Today's students, the digital generation, have no shortage of information; they are, in fact, deluged with it every day. Instead, what they lack is the ability to synthesize and manage that information, so they can turn it into knowledge, and in turn, convert that knowledge into judgment and that judgment into action. It is incumbent upon us to guide our students in developing that ability at a higher level and more quickly than ever before. Only then will our students be prepared for the tremendous changes they are facing, not just now, but in years to come. Only then can we be confident that we are meeting our responsibilities in the academy. It is a high bar.
We can bemoan the many external pressures being brought to bear on us. We can deplore the increasingly utilitarian view of higher education on philosophical grounds. Frankly, I sometimes do both. But this is the world we live in today, and we can’t just stick our heads in the proverbial sand. Our environment has changed; public attitudes and expectations have changed. We in higher education--including all of us here at Ball State--must adjust accordingly or face some dire consequences. We are never going back. Not because we don't want to, because we can't. No longer can any of us plan to do the same things we've always done in the same way we've always done them.
This is not a reality we created. It's what has been handed to us and to 4,200 other colleges and universities. So what do we do?
I am confident we are up to the challenge. We can be responsive while holding onto, and living, our deepest values. You, our faculty, have demonstrated over and over again that you can meet difficult, but important, challenges. Our new strategic plan provides a framework for how we will do so.
But a speech will not get us there, nor will good intentions. It will take action.
So today, I want to announce a series of initiatives that will address some of the concerns you have identified.
Let me again start with faculty salaries and travel funds, and the MAC salary survey data. If the MAC salary survey results were adjusted for cost of living, we would rank seventh in the conference instead of last. And many other MAC universities have law schools, engineering schools, or other academic entities we do not have at Ball State. This skews their salary data upward due to market conditions for those specialists. Moreover, we include more contract faculty in our salary averages than other universities.
But, again, the salary gap does exist. If we adjust for the difference in salaries by discipline mix at the various institutions, we believe we are less than 10 percent behind the MAC average, although this does not factor in cost of living, which we would suggest is important. If we then take into consideration the cost of living, that would likely put us in the top third of the MAC. I have asked Vice President Randy Howard to work with the Salary and Benefits Committee of University Senate in looking at these data and our initial analysis.
For now, the differences appear to be the highest at the ranks of professor and associate professor. So this year, we will begin to adjust the promotion increments that faculty members receive when they are promoted to these ranks. These increments will be on top of merit increases given in the year of promotion. Over the next three years, associate professor promotion increments will rise from $2,500 to $4,000. Full professor increments will rise from $3,700 to $6,000 over the same three years.
In addition to increasing promotion increments, we aim to increase the salaries of our tenured and tenure-track faculty at a rate consistently higher than the MAC average. Our goal is to reduce the overall faculty salary gap by half, to close to 5 percent by the time our strategic plan is completed in 2017. We will continue to examine the market gap between our faculty salaries and comparable peers, and we will work hard to develop additional strategies to reduce it.
We will look at various approaches, including additional increases for professors and associate professors who already have been promoted. The state's financial situation and our appropriations will determine how aggressive we can be. Although we have more examination to do here, I want to emphasize that these strategies will be merit-based, something that both the state and our own Board of Trustees have agreed is important. We, too, embrace the idea of rewarding merit, which is why I thank all the academic department and unit heads for implementing the merit-based salary policy adopted by our Board of Trustees.
We need to recognize that it has taken us a long time to get into our current salary position. Given the current and ongoing economic climate, order-of-magnitude changes are not likely to become viable any time soon. However, in most years since 2005, our salary pool has increased beyond the MAC average. In the few years such increases were not possible, we maintained our position, with the exception of 2009, when state lawmakers virtually mandated no pay increases.
I also want to ask the University Senate for its assistance. One thing that significantly affects our salary comparisons with other universities is that we confer traditional professorial titles on contract faculty; that is, we give them the titles of assistant professor and associate professor. As a result, our salary comparisons to our peers are skewed downward because very few other universities do so to the extent that we do. This structure was based on the value system of our faculty at the time it was implemented. There are consequences for keeping this system as it is, and there are consequences for changing it. It is certainly a complex issue. But it does impact public reports on salary levels, which may be very important. I encourage the Senate to study this issue and determine what, if any, changes should be made in this policy.
Beyond salaries, we want to provide more resources for travel and professional development, as you have requested. We have developed a President’s Travel Fund, totaling $100,000. This will provide funds that match those already at the disposal of the deans to support travel to national conferences and other professional development opportunities. These additional funds will be targeted to associate and full professors and will be administered by a faculty committee through the provost's office.
Finally, immersive learning will remain at the center of our educational experience. It is a transformative learning experience. It is a rigorous learning pedagogy. It makes our students more attractive to employers. And it makes a Ball State University education distinctive.
But you need help implementing it.
First, there are a number of things that we have already implemented to help in this regard but that are not as widely known as they should be. For instance, our Office of Building Better Communities staff is ready to provide assistance to you in finding community partners for your projects. There are now three types of Provost Immersive Learning Grants: grants for new projects, grants for recurring projects, and grants related to travel and promotion of immersive learning and the scholarship of teaching and learning. The provost's office organizes a number of resources to assist faculty with the creation, planning, and assessment of immersive learning projects, including open forums, question-and-answer sessions, and making Immersive Learning Advisory Committee members available to advise and guide you in your planning. I encourage you to take advantage of these resources, and Provost King will be looking for ways to raise their visibility.
Second, there are some immersive learning initiatives that we have begun, but need to be refined. They include the Building Better Communities Fellows program, the information available through our immersive learning website, the funding managed by the college deans to support immersive learning projects, and the assessment of immersive learning projects and research as it relates to the scholarship of teaching and learning. We will work in the coming months to refine and strengthen these initiatives.
Third, we will add even more support for immersive learning this year through a series of new initiatives. I'm pleased to announce the creation of the President’s Faculty Fellows program. This fall, each dean will announce an appointment in his college, with two appointments in the College of Sciences and Humanities due to its size. These faculty members, experienced with immersive learning projects, will assist their colleagues in expanding their college's immersive learning activity. We are also finalizing the creation of four university-wide immersive learning awards to be given annually, beginning in January. These awards will carry financial stipends and will celebrate some of Ball State's most impactful projects from the previous two years.
In addition, we will restructure the budgeting of Provost Immersive Learning Grants this year in a way that includes full faculty buyouts and gives academic departments the flexibility in meeting their greatest needs. And finally, I am asking the deans to modify the promotion and tenure documents in their respective colleges so that immersive learning is recognized for its educational value in ways appropriate to that particular college.
We believe in the value of immersive learning, but we need to execute and implement its intent more completely. We will work to make it scalable and more accessible to those disciplines that are less oriented toward external activities. Our intent is to support you in developing immersive learning projects, in recruiting students to undertake those projects, and in finding community partners who will support those projects.
Before moving on, I want to say a few words about our Enterprise Resource Planning system. It was obvious that we needed to integrate the many, many sources of information on this campus to provide better service to our students, parents, prospective students, faculty and staff, and various other constituents. But I realize that the ERP implementation over the course of the last two years has been very difficult.
Sushil Sharma has been professor of information systems here for more than a decade, but he has more than 20 years of experience researching ERP implementations in various organizations. In a meeting several of you attended a few weeks ago, he said, "Any ERP implementation, including Banner, goes through painful experiences during the early stages because ERP software not only means learning new skills, but it also means structuring an organization’s business processes differently. The normal timeframe of any ERP implementation is between 24 and 36 months; that is when the most pain is experienced. But then, the users enjoy the fruits of the implementation, including easier reporting and universal access to the same real-time information. The long-term benefits of ERP outweigh the early pains of implementation," Dr. Sharma said.
I find it very comforting that one of our own faculty members was able to explain and put into context the painful process we are going through. While I know he is right, I want to acknowledge the challenges that so many of you have experienced and continue to experience during ERP implementation. Thank you for your dedication in working through the difficult process of adopting new systems. I especially want to thank the dedicated staff members who have put extraordinary effort into the implementation itself. This is just one example of how the work of our professional and classified staff supports our academic mission.
I encourage supervisors to consider their employees' ERP involvement when awarding merit pay increases. At Ball State, we want to recognize everyone who helps us work through rapid change. I also remind you that overtime is available for certain employees implementing ERP; supervisors should contact Vice President Howard and his staff if they have any questions. This year, we will expand our training and make additional resources available, including greater outreach to end-users, clearer communication on how to best use the new software tools provided through ERP, and increasing the number and frequency of training sessions. We have heard your concerns, and we are striving to deliver the information and training you need to perform your daily work. I also have asked Vice President Howard to find a way to recognize those staff who have been substantively affected by the ERP implementation by providing a day off during the period between semesters. More details will follow on this initiative.
I have made a number of very specific commitments to you today addressing your concerns about faculty salaries, immersive learning, and ERP implementation. I trust that they are a good start in providing more tools and resources to help us accomplish the ambitious goals before us, and these commitments will be reflected in our strategic plan. I want to acknowledge one other thing that I learned from my conversations with you this summer--I need to do a better job of communicating with you in the future. I want to find more opportunities to hear from you.
In that spirit, this year we will be conducting a survey on employee satisfaction. Our first action will be distributing a comprehensive university-wide benefits survey in the coming months. It will assess employee attitudes regarding the importance, perceived cost, value, and competitiveness of our benefits and wellness programs. Your input is crucial; this assessment will help us be strategic about enhancing the work environment for each of you.
As one new step toward better communication with you in the future, I intend to meet with the faculty of every college in January. This will allow me to share information and respond to your concerns. Based on your feedback, we might want to have additional forums on specific topics. Furthermore, I'm happy to meet with any department or college at your request.
We stand at the threshold of another academic year with a long list of accomplishments behind us. Let that serve as our source of encouragement as we face the challenges ahead from a position of strength. We have excellent results from all of our hard work on the strategic plan. No one person could have achieved any of them. It took all of us. Even more encouraging are the many people on this campus who care deeply about our students and their success. We care enough to say hard things, to speak respectfully but candidly about important issues, and to do the right thing on behalf of our students.
I realize that much is asked of our faculty: excellence in the classroom, excellence in research, excellence in developing and guiding immersive learning projects and the core curriculum, excellence in service to the university, including committee work. I realize that much is asked of our professional, administrative, and service staff: you must be agile, flexible, and adaptive, and you must perform at a very high level in an extremely lean environment. I hear your concerns, I value your dedication, and I am committed to doing whatever I can to make our collective load easier to carry.
You know, teaching is a unique profession, and a university is a special place. It is one of the few places where lives are actually changed. I know that our talented and dedicated faculty and staff have done just that from the hundreds of phone calls and e-mails I receive every year from our students and their parents and from the stories our alumni tell me. Each of you has had a profound impact on hundreds of lives. That is our ultimate goal here; that is why we do what we do. Thank you for all that you do for our university, and my personal best wishes for the coming year.
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