I can’t tell you how excited LeShelle and I are to have finally landed in Davis. I say that despite the triple-digit temperatures that greeted us on our arrival here a couple weeks ago. Atlanta generally doesn’t get quite so hot in the summer. President Napolitano called for a UC Davis chancellor who could take the heat. I guess I had a different understanding of what exactly that meant.
I am truly excited about leading UC Davis to new heights. Your university –– and, now, I am proud to say, “our university” –– is already a Mount Whitney. “We” –– I’m happy I can say that now, too –– we are already on a trajectory to a Mount Everest. A big part of my job will be to keep our engines of discovery, innovation and scholarship running strong, to keep our path of upward trajectory unimpeded, and to keep blazing new pathways to success –– for students, faculty and staff.
Successful journeys are guided by strategic plans, and I will make it a priority to develop one early in my tenure. Successful plans require buy-in or consensus from those who have a stake in its outcome. The stakeholders are all of you –– students, faculty, staff and alumni. I want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to provide ideas.
What I appreciate about UC Davis –– beyond our academic and research excellence –– is our commitment to diversity, our focus on upward mobility for our students, and our extraordinary dedication to public service. Those values resonate deeply with me. I want to build on our long and proud tradition of public service by strengthening our presence, our contributions and our relationships with the Sacramento region. I’ve already had positive interactions with local and regional leaders as well as the business community.
I am a go-getter. Naturally, I want things done sooner rather than later. But I am going to follow the advice that I have given my engineering students, which is to “learn how to listen and how to wait.” So, beginning today and continuing through the fall quarter, I will be on a “listening tour,” hearing from as many stakeholders as I can –– as many of you that I can.
I want to hear directly from students, faculty and staff. I want to visit alumni and learn what’s on their minds. I want to talk with donors and hear what makes them excited about UC Davis. I’ve already scheduled meetings with more community and business leaders and government representatives. Believe me, my calendar through December is filling up quickly, as it should be.
Thank you all for the warm welcome!