Pres. praises university at annual address
"Just one second, we need to take a selfie here," Miami University President David Hodge said as he whipped out his phone mid-speech to the applause and laughter of the crowd. "Good. The day is complete!"
Hodge's sample of modern humor served as a paradigm to his annual address Wednesday evening in which he explained the importance of moving Miami forward.
"Change is literally everywhere," Hodge said. "To navigate this change we need to ground our anticipation, our assessment and our actions in a clear sense of purpose that is guided by our mission."
Examples of Miami's mission statement have been in abundance this fall semester and students are proving that it is still as important as it was in 1809.
In his address, Hodge emphasized learning to write well as one of the most important opportunities that a liberal education can provide.
"Good writing and good thinking go hand-in-hand," Hodge said.
This fall a booklet on Writing at Miami, which features students, alumni and faculty reflecting on why writing matters, was distributed to all students and faculty to stress the importance of writing and a liberal education in graduating thoughtful citizens who will be greater valued by employers.
Hodge also described the new Office of Research for Undergraduates in King Library, which serves to facilitate creative work and foster a vibrant learning and discovery environment.
To Hodge, one of the most important ways that Miami is living up to its mission is its commitment to a strong and diverse community that enriches everyone with vibrant ideas and better prepares students for the world they will be living in.
"A strong community does not merely tolerate or even accommodate differences, it seeks them out," Hodge said.
It was the relationships within the Miami community that made "Move-in Miami" a success. During the event, students, faculty and Hodge himself helped students move into their dorms at the beginning of the year.
Hodge finished praising Miami's community by honoring Director of Student Counseling Services Kip Alishio and Director of Staff Development Becky Dysart with the Distinguished Service Award, the most significant recognition Miami has to offer for employees who have made a significant impact on the life and mission of Miami.
Miami's strong sense of community and service would be nothing if not for its campus in Oxford, Ohio, according to Hodge. He said he believes the key to Miami's future success is the opportunities created through the residential experience to which students at Miami's Oxford campus are exposed.
However, the close residential experience that students are exposed to raises challenges along with opportunities. High-risk alcohol and drug use, sexual assault and violence are all problems that plague college campuses nationwide.
"How can a residential experience lead to superior academic and student life outcomes?" Hodge asked.
One of the many advances that allow students to seize this opportunity is Miami's Armstrong Student Center. The new student center lets students work together through closer cooperation among student groups and organizations and by offering a wide variety of areas for students to interact with each other.
"Students must seize the opportunity of being together in the same place at the same time!" Hodge said.