1st Post from Presidential Boot Camp @Harvard

Hi all. I’m writing from the new president’s seminar at Harvard.  Excuse typos or poor grammar, as I don’t have a computer and am confined to my phone.

The thing that struck me on my first day here was: what motivates the majority of folks here?  For most participants, they’ve dreamed of being a college president and have worked through the ranks of faculty, dept head, vp of x, provost to president. They are motivated by the position itself.

For a much smaller group, it seems like their motivation comes from somewhere else. The general from West Point is motivated by service to country. The incoming president of Salish-Kootenei (an American Indian school out in Montana) is motivated by ethnicity. The guy at Gordon is motivated by religion and the Christian Brotherhood.

I feel so lucky to be part of that later group and as I feel most motivated by mission rather than position. But I feel even more lucky because our mission is both the what and the how of our educational philosophy – human ecology. Our mission is what we and how we teach – what and how we teach is our mission. Does that make any sense?

(Upon further reflection, Sunday July 31 edit: An analogy might help flesh this idea out a bit. If the Christian University was focused squarely on teaching Christianity and teaching it through Christian morality, they would be in a situation where the ‘what we and how we teach = the mission).

My final point so far – everyone has said just how critical the senior team is to success. I also feel very lucky to have the strong support of the college’s ‘Cabinet’ – although we may want to change the name!

Please know that I wish I could have spent day 1 of my presidency on our campus. I can’t wait to get up there. But also know that I think these days here will be valuable for me and ultimately for the College.


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