Geoffrey S. Mearns
2019 Fall Opening Convocation
Friday, August 16, 9 a.m.
Emens Auditorium

‘Our best days are yet to come’

Last year at this Convocation, I discussed how we were preparing to build upon our historic legacy of success and impact by developing an ambitious, long-term strategic plan. This morning, I want to talk about how we have already begun to implement this plan. I will also celebrate your contributions and your accomplishments, because you deserve this recognition.

Indeed, as I prepared my remarks, I was not simply impressed with the results of your work. I was inspired. And if I do my job well enough this morning, you will be inspired as well—inspired to believe that our best days are yet to come.

‘It raises the bar’

It was a good year. It was a very good year.

All of our achievements provide positive momentum as we embark on another year. But we cannot be complacent. In fact, this remarkable progress increases expectations. It raises the bar for all of us.

We will meet and exceed these expectations by continuing to implement the imperatives in our new strategic plan.

‘Commit to excellence’

When we commit to excellence in everything that we do, each one of us—no matter what our job— each one of us has the potential to change the lives of other people. Every day. Each one of us.

A ‘thankless job’

People often say to me that I have a “thankless job.” That’s just not true.

Every week—sometimes every day—someone stops me on campus or stops me on the street, or someone sends me an email. And they express their appreciation for the impact of our University on their lives or on their community. They give me credit for the work that you do—for the work that you do.

Thank you for your many contributions. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve with you. I am grateful for this privilege.

‘We are on our way’

When we articulated gratitude as an enduring value, we said that it is necessary, but not sufficient to express our appreciation to others. We defined gratitude as requiring us “to demonstrate our gratitude through our actions.”

And so, I have a request: I ask that you join me on our flight path to a bright future—to a bright future as we elevate this excellent university into an extraordinary one. Let’s go to work.

We are on our way. Oh yes, we are on our way. Thank you for your service and for your support.