Ponzi circa 1920 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Class of 2013, Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Siblings, Cousins, Legal Guardians, and Parole Officers,
Welcome to the 2013 Commencement and Capital Campaign Kick-Off! While we celebrate the accomplishments of our graduating seniors we also look toward the future. What Willard College will look like when you return for your 20th Reunion is up to you, to the choices you make to invest forward to the next generations of Willard students.
Let me start by recognizing the great sacrifice that families have made to send their young people to Willard College. As they say, for nothing you get nothing. If you want quality, you must pay. Willard recognizes today that every time Mom and Dad reached for their wallet, they were wondering: Is this worth it? No one here in attendance can doubt your wisdom in choosing Willard.
Why? Because the Class of 2013 has been part of some of the most exciting changes since our transition from a psychiatric facility to a college. During your four years, our national accrediting body lifted sanctions on your School of Business, ended its groundless investigation of its dean, permitted the elimination of the Departments of Mathematics, German, and Philosophy, and gave its approval to the integration of Politics, History, Economics, Sociology, English, and Anthropology into a single Institute of Human Studies. On the athletics side, we have reincorporated into the NCAA, having paid the penalties as stipulated in the 2010 agreement.
During your time at Willard, we have also raised the professional standards of our faculty through aggressive recruitment of teachers willing to work in our more flexible credit and schedule rubric. We now have a healthy flow of faculty, and have reduced much of the stagnation that is killing higher education. Not unlike leading Fortune 500 corporations, Willard needs an adaptable and user friendly workforce.
We have also enriched dialogue between administration and faculty through a thorough and often intense assessment and assessment of assessment regimen. Everyone on campus whose job it is to educate or supervise education is on the same page. And I mean that literally. Every faculty member’s day ends with an hour meeting with the appropriate dean to assess the day’s achievements and to identify areas in need of improvement. The quality control at Willard College is the new industry standard, and it is one that matches our corporate models.
But for Willard to move forward to greater heights, we need the support of its alumnus. Can you return a measure of what Willard gave to you? Can you do as the great philosopher Charles Ponzi suggested, and pay it forward? Can you invest today to pay for those who have already invested?
In the end, it is up to each one of you. Do you believe in the Willard experience? When some day, ten years from now, the guy next to you on the train asks “Where is Willard?” will you be able to answer: “Willard is tomorrow, but it has not forgotten yesterday.”
With a warm embrace,
President Dr. Henry Cotton