One president steps aside, another steps up

Yesterday was a pretty intense day and it had to do with two presidents: former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Wayne State University's 11th President, Allan Gilmour.

Around noon on my way back to the office, a young man passed me holding the Egyptian flag above his head, smiling. It was 8 degrees out, but this young man was elated in the frigid sunshine. When I sat down to my computer, I heard the news that Mubarak stepped down. I watched the celebration live. Before my very eyes, history unfolded. The people of Egypt spoke as one, powerful voice and accomplished something epic together. Reading the New York Times coverage today has been amazing, as was watching the Al Jazeera coverage all yesterday. It was truly one of the most amazing things I've ever witnessed. We will see what the future holds for Egypt.

A couple hours later, my entire division got to hear from President Allan Gilmour. This man is incredible. He's already the talk of the campus and especially Beecher House. Just the other day he came up to our office and introduced himself to EVERY SINGLE PERSON on our staff. What a guy! After he spoke yesterday, I felt really confident in having the university in his hands. So did others. People told me later they had to hold back cheers as the president went from point to point. There was no battle cry at yesterday's meeting, but I still felt that everyone in that room could rally around the president. He spoke so eloquently and honestly. He clearly stated he knew nothing of Wayne State back in August and he sees something here. He has vision and he's for keeps. With his guidance, I think he's going to help us do incredible things.

Later at the bar, someone asked me "Do you think things will ever change?" I pondered that, because it's a very real question. The game here is exhausting to play sometimes. I've been on campus since 2005 in multiple positions. I've been in academia since 2000 and these kinds of institutions aren't exactly known for lightspeed improvements and progress. But about a year ago I had a sense that things were changing at Wayne State. There's no question that this ship's already turning around now. We will see what the future holds for Wayne State University.

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