Over the past 25 or more years, I have heard various people at UIW ask when things are going to stop changing. “When are we going to settle down?” Just when one new initiative is winding down, something new is on the horizon.
Everyone who has been associated with UIW over these years will know we have experienced a long line of new programs, new campuses, new buildings, and many, many new people. Sometimes our alumni say that they hardly recognize the campus where they once spent so much time.
I noted at the Mass of the Holy Spirit – our prayerful beginning in late August to the new academic year – that now is the time to consider the deeper, unchanging hallmarks of UIW. These include our Mission, our relationship to the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, the character and commitment of our faculty and staff, and the great, young people we teach and direct towards their future opportunities.
Sitting in the President’s Office, I have the perfect vantage point to observe our students passing from one side of the campus to the other. Their backpacks, their earbuds, their baseball caps and UIW insignia have changed over the years. But their enthusiasm and energy are still as inspiring to me as the first students I met on this campus almost 30 years ago. They, more than any other single aspect of UIW, remain constant. They, after all, are the primary reason all of the rest of us are here. Their education is our Mission and our ministry. Their wellbeing is our concern. Their future success is our present responsibility.
As we settle into another semester at UIW, I know that we won’t ever be totally settled. Change will continue to unfold as we introduce new programs, anticipate a new School of Osteopathic Medicine, anticipate the completion of the long awaited Student Engagement Center, and welcome the freshmen Class of 2016.
And under the leadership of the board of trustees, we will begin the exciting and enormous responsibility of seeking a new president for our cherished institution.
The more things change, and they will as we begin the visioning process of imagining the future, the more we should welcome the familiar tug of our roots and our unchanging foundations.
Dr. Denise J. Doyle