I am delighted to be joining the SMSU family and the community of Marshall.
These first few weeks have been a whirlwind as I have begun to settle in to the community and get a chance to meet so many wonderful people.
It is very clear that there is an excitement around SMSU and that people are passionate about their University and what it brings to this region.
My goals for the first few months are very simple - to listen to what you have to say, to learn about your dreams for the future, and to determine how best to build upon the history of partnerships and collaboration that have grown Southwest to what it is today.
The other night as I watched the fire flies dance among the corn stalks in my back yard I felt like I had "come home" to Marshall. Having grown up in rural North Dakota, I have a deep respect for the work ethic, dedication and loyalty that is prevalent in communities like Marshall.
It is clear that Southwest has a strong heritage to build upon with deeply engaged faculty, staff, and students as well as very dedicated alumni and strong community support.
I hope to couple our heritage of innovation, creativity, and inventiveness that have transformed this university over 46 years with a renewed enthusiasm that builds upon our mission and positions us to grow as an institution and meet the workforce needs of our region and beyond.
As I continue to meet people around campus, across town and throughout the region, I encourage you to stay in touch and share your "Southwest Stories" to help me learn more about you and our University.
These stories will help provide me with a framework that I can use when promoting SMSU to prospective students, parents, new employees and potential donors to the institution. Later this fall, I hope to capture some of these great stories that make up the fabric of SMSU and share more of the history of the institution with others.
With the privilege of serving as the president of Southwest Minnesota State University comes many responsibilities.
One of the most important to me is that of communication. My goal is to be in constant communication with the many constituents that we as an institution are charged with serving. I hope to continue being a guest columnist in the "Community Voices" section; I will also be trying my hand at some of the latest social media outlets (last week I had my first "tweet" as president); and I plan to have times scheduled for anyone to stop by to visit in the student center and enjoy a cup of coffee.
Thank you to everyone who has welcomed me to town with open arms. I look forward to meeting many more of you as we work together to make southwest Minnesota - the place we call home - a destination of choice.