2017 President to Presidents LectureAnd That One Talent Which Is Death to Hide: The View from a Quarter of a Century as a University President.Susan A. Cole, Ph.D.
Montclair State University, New Jersey
When I consider how my light is spent,Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,And that one Talent which is death to hideLodged with me useless, though my Soul more bentTo serve therewith my Maker, and presentMy true account, lest he returning chide;“Doth God exact day-labour, light deny’d?”I fondly ask. But patience to preventThat murmur, soon replies, “God doth not needEither man’s work or his own gifts; who bestBear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His StateIs Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed And post o’re Land and Ocean without rest:They also serve who only stand and wait.”Many of you will recognize Milton’s well-known 19th sonnet. Perhaps you had to memorize it, as I did, for a high school English class. Being part of the baby boom generation, the public schools in Brooklyn were overcrowded, and my high school, with over 7,000 students, was running on three sessions. My session began at about 7:00 a.m., and so it transpired that, in the dark of one cold winter morning, as I rode to Erasmus Hall High School on the Flatbush Avenue bus in Brooklyn, I memorized Milton’s sonnet to the starts and stops and background noises of a city bus. And that sonnet stuck with me. I loved the sound of the language, even while I repudiated what its words seemed to say.God does not need man’s work? Wrong. I was taught by my immigrant parents that work in the world was the very essence of life. Not to be able to work was the worst thing that could happen to a person, a circumstance from which all bad things ensued – homelessness, hunger, ill health, bondage, despair. And the greatest good fortune that could befall a person was to be able to do the work one had a passion to do. And, I was taught, education is the pathway to that good fortune.Download PDF to read the complete lecture
2016 President to Presidents LectureThe Challenge of Presidential LeadershipMickey L. BurnimPresident
Bowie State University, Maryland
Thanks to my colleague and friend Jerry Farley for the introduction. Congratulations to Distinguished Alumna Dr. Doris Taylor and to Muriel Howard on her excellent leadership of AASCU. My compliments to Steve Jordan on a fine job this year as chairman of the board. Thanks to the AASCU board for granting me this very high honor. LaVera [my spouse] and I have been active in AASCU for at least 20 years now. The association has been wonderfully supportive to both of us as we have worked to lead two different AASCU institutions. The annual meetings have consistently provided relevant themes and sessions that have been food for thought, and opportunities for engaging discussions about the roles of the president or chancellor, and the spouse or partner, and strategies for dealing with many of the common problems/opportunities that we have faced. The summer meetings have been relaxing respites for unwinding and recharging, and enjoying the fellowship of colleagues and friends while beginning to formulate plans for the ensuing academic year. One way that I have described the AASCU meetings is that they are “venues for comfortable commiseration,” and opportunities to learn from colleagues—both formally and informally.
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2015 President to Presidents LectureAASCU Presidents as ‘Stewards of Place’Don Betz
University of Central Oklahoma
I was more than surprised when Muriel called me with the invitation from the AASCU Board to join you here today. I know many of you, and have listened with rapt attention over the years to informative and insightful presentations offered by our presidential colleagues.
I was truly honored, but I did not immediately reply. I sought the counsel of a trusted colleague whose penchant is for clarity and plain speaking, and I knew he would be a welcomed reality check.
For, what to say to you, here, today who speak every week to a mélange of audiences on the broadest possible spectrum of issues. I thought to myself, “Would this be 30 minutes or so where all are politely attentive while waiting to check those ever-vibrating devices we all carry for the “message of the moment”?”
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2014 President to Presidents LectureThe Public University and The Common Good: Federal Policy for The Next 50 Years of The Higher Education ActF. King Alexander
Louisiana State University
As you know, I am a supporter of a Department of Education’s new college ratings system. More importantly however, I am even more supportive of the creation of a new federal/state matching fund partnership for public colleges and universities. In this speech, I hope to convince you how important it is for the federal government to use its fiscal leverage to encourage increased state investments in public colleges and universities.
According to Niall Ferguson in The Cash Nexus (2001), “the nexus between economics and politics is key to understand the modern world.” However, in the U.S., the key to understanding how colleges and universities are financed often has more to do with politics than economics. This fact makes it imperative that policymakers analyze the political dynamics and underlying motivations of existing higher education finance and tax policies to effectively address the challenges facing higher education today.
2013 President to Presidents LectureMildred GarcíaPresident
California State University Fullerton
You know, when Muriel Howard called me to invite me to deliver this address, I was immediately humbled by the tremendous honor. And as I hung up that phone, that humility quickly became panic and anxiety. Anxiety that has followed me till right now.
I have been a member of AASCU for only six years, and I have seen the power of the presidents before me. What could I share with my amazing, accomplished and distinguished peers, and my AASCU family? What could I say that you would even care to listen? And of course, being a typical Puerto Rican woman, I thought, oh my God. Isn’t this the address for those who have graduated into Seniorville?
But then I settled down and began reflecting upon my own journey, and how it has affected the lenses through which I see the world. It occurred to me that this experience affords me the opportunity to reflect upon what is critical and important to me as a president of an AASCU institution and to share those reflections with all of you.
2012 President to Presidents Lecture
Some Good AdviceGeorge A. PruittPresidentThomas Edison State College, New Jersey
Listen to Dr. Pruitt's speech here
2011 President to Presidents LectureThe AASCU EdgeJolene Koester PresidentCalifornia State University Northridge
Thank you for giving me this incredible honor to address you, this audience of my colleagues with
their spouses and partners—this audience of friends—during AASCU’s 50th anniversary celebration.
My title for this lecture, “The AASCU Edge,” signals what you can expect to hear from me. I present today an argument for AASCU’s “edge” in all of that word’s meanings—edge as advantage, edge as precision, and yes, edge as an increasingly precarious pathway to higher education for our students. The Annual Meeting theme sets the tone and the content for this lecture. We begin with celebration, then challenge, third leadership—present and future—and close with celebration again.
I begin by asking, what are we celebrating, and why? This meeting is our formal vehicle to acknowledge and commemorate AASCU’s 50 years of consequential service to U.S. public higher education. In celebrating AASCU, we celebrate each of our colleges and universities. What is the unique but also shared vision that underlies our institutions? What are the values that differentiate us from other higher education institutions, public and private? Who are our students and what voices do they represent? The answers to these questions provide the rationale for our celebration.