See if this sounds familiar: You are attending a new school, and you have moved away from home and everything familiar to you so you can make a new home and meet new people. You not only have to figure out where everything is for the first time, but you also have to find your place within those surroundings, yet you cannot help but look forward to what the future holds.
For some of you, you may have experienced this a few years ago, but for many this was only a couple of weeks ago. For those of you who are still finding your home here at Ferris, I’m right there with you! I have a new job at a new school, I’m meeting new people and I have so many new things to learn. Just like you, I am facing challenges, successes, failures and new relationships, all while trying to keep those treasured past relationships alive.
Again, I am with you! While I am confident that there will be challenges in my time at Ferris, experience has taught me that I will learn and become better through those challenges. You too will encounter classes, situations and, sometimes, people that will cause you to think, “Was this the right decision?” However, I believe that we each have the power to make our decisions the “right” decisions by growing into them.
On Oct. 8, I will have the pleasure of being inaugurated as the 19th president of Ferris State University and the first Black president of Ferris State University. However, my selection for this position was not something I lucked into, just like my acceptance of this position was not something that I decided upon lightly. There were hundreds of tiny decisions over the course of my adult life that led up to next week’s inauguration, and let me tell you—most of them didn’t feel “historic.”
One of the things I like best about working with college students is that you are just beginning a lifetime of making mature decisions. You are so chock full of opportunity! No matter where you came from, no matter what you’ve done until this point, you are here. At Ferris, we all have opportunities to learn, opportunities to grow and opportunities to become the best versions of ourselves. I am thrilled to grow alongside you, and I know that together we will make historic change, not only for Ferris, but for the world.
One final thing—celebrate your victories. They are well worth the celebration!
I look forward to meeting every single one of you because together we will conquer challenges, enjoy our wins and help each other along the way. Welcome to the school year, Bulldogs!