This is the first letter I’ve been asked to pen to TU students, and I appreciate The Collegian giving me this opportunity. Some of you know a bit about me since I served as a dean and vice president before taking on my current role late last year. I am a physician, an educator and a military veteran. I am husband to your new first lady, Paula Clancy, and father to a relatively recent college graduate, a current TU student and a high school student. I am a voracious reader and a believer in lifelong learning and community service. And, I hope, I will be the kind of university president you deserve.
I have attended and worked at several colleges, and The University of Tulsa is a unique place with special students. Your drive to put good out into the world is an inspiration. In fact, I’ve recently begun using your examples as I meet with colleagues, donors and friends and tell them about my new role at TU.
Many people who are unfamiliar with our university ask me about our mascot, the Golden Hurricane. “What is that, anyway?” they say. Beyond the historical explanation of how the name came to be, I started thinking about that question in a bigger sense. “What is a hurricane, if not a mighty force?” And what makes our hurricane “golden?” Well, it’s the desire of students, faculty and alumni to do good works.
So was born a new catchphrase for my elevator speech: TU — and the Golden Hurricane — is a force for good. And I see that in action everyday I come to campus. In my short time at TU, I’ve witnessed research projects that seek to harness solar power and reduce mercury pollution and volunteer efforts that feed the hungry and care for the sick. You build bridges, solve problems and foster hope. Each day, your actions spur others to do their part to make our campus, our city and our world a better place.
I encourage you to continue to look beyond yourselves. Recognize opportunities and enlist others to help you reach your goals — academically, socially and professionally. Society responds to people who make positive contributions. Along the way, you will learn more than you could imagine about people, history, culture, diversity and the values that make life meaningful. You also will learn about yourself — your strengths and your weaknesses — and your capacity to be an inspiration to others.
Make your mark. Do your best. Be a force for good!