Presidential Announcement Recap

Remarks by President-­-Elect Carl J. Strikwerda

"Great institutions thrive by looking in two directions: at the past and into the future. Looking back reminds us who we are and where we came from. Looking into the future reminds us where we're going. Over a century ago, Elizabethtown College was founded by people who believed that education could create a better world for the generations that came after them. "Educate for service" has been the proud motto and the guiding principle of this institution since its founding. When we invite Elizabethtown students to be a bigger part of the world, it is with a nod to our motto of service. The 16,000 alumni of Elizabethtown College demonstrate by the lives that they live each day that the College made a difference. By shaping their character and advancing their creativity, the College helped them serve their communities and lead deeper, richer lives. Through being a bigger part of the world our students become part of a better world.

Independent colleges such as Elizabethtown are a unique glory of American higher education. Everywhere else in the world, college education is delivered in much larger universities which devote a heavy emphasis to graduate education. The small, residential college focused on undergraduate education, which Elizabethtown College exemplifies, fosters a distinctive learning environment and deeply powerful bonds of life-long community.

Among independent colleges, Elizabethtown College stands tall in its commitment not only to teaching and learning, but in its admirable outreach to its region and beyond. Elizabethtown College sets an example of service through the research done by its faculty, the extensive offerings of the Edward R. Murphy Center for Continuing Education and Distance Learning, the outreach to businesses through the High Center for Family Business, and the contributions and international expertise of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, the Ware Colloquium on Peacemaking and Global Citizenship, and Music at Gretna.

Looking at the College's immediate past points us toward the future with confidence. During the last 15 years, Elizabethtown College's commitment to learning and service has grown greatly under the energetic leadership of Ted Long. President Long, supported by a creative faculty, board, and senior staff, has significantly improved the College's academic mission, expanded its facilities, and widened its outreach. Like every other institution in America over the last three years, Elizabethtown College has faced enormous economic challenges. Thanks to wise leadership, the College has come through this time of testing remarkably well. The commitment that has sustained Elizabethtown College for over a hundred years is still inspiring us and moving the institution forward.

The confidence that this is an institution with a rich past and a commitment to continue to improve means that the years ahead hold a great deal of promise. The enduring commitment behind Elizabethtown College has attracted the admiration of many in American higher education, including mine. In my thirty years of teaching as a faculty member, and my 13 years of serving as a college administrator, I have worked hard to promote international and interdisciplinary studies, undergraduate research, diversity and multicultural communities, and service learning and civic engagement. I look forward to bringing that experience to Elizabethtown, learning from the rich community here, and building on the strong foundation laid by the College's leaders.

Despite economic challenges, I believe we can look forward to the future with hope. Independent colleges still thrive. The support for the College among its alumni and in the surrounding community is strong. The College's leadership has a wealth of talent for creative ideas. My long term goals as president of Elizabethtown College will be to strengthen the two greatest assets of the institution: its residential learning environment for undergraduates and its outreach to the region. I hope, as well, to bring together the residential undergraduate experience and outreach in complimentary ways where possible. My immediate goals are to carry out strategic planning, to strengthen the financial basis of the College by increasing foundation grants and private gifts, promote engaged learning through undergraduate research and internships, and expand international studies. I will welcome ideas and suggestions from the full range of members in the Elizabethtown College community on how to further these goals. In the process of meeting these goals, I look forward to getting to know students, alumni, faculty and staff and hearing from them their visions and dreams for Elizabethtown College. Achieving these goals, I believe, will strengthen our ultimate mission-educating people for service.

My wife Gail and I appreciate a great deal how warmly the Elizabethtown College community has welcomed us. It is an honor for us to follow in the steps of Ted and Betty Long who have given so much to Elizabethtown College. We're proud to join Elizabethtown College's faithful tradition of learning and service, and we look forward to the future with hope. Thank you very much."