“One campus, one community”

I have been in my role, as executive president, for a month now. I’m honored to serve Hastings College and be on campus once again. Thank you all for the warm welcome home.

As a 1985 graduate of the college and as a former faculty member and administrator, who previously worked here for 22 years from 1990 to 2012, I have a deep love and respect for this campus and for what HC stands for.

I have always considered our culture as a defining characteristic of HC. There are other good private liberal arts colleges, but HC stood apart. One Campus, One Community.

Management Guru Peter Drucker is given credit for the oft-repeated phrase: “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” I think this is a good phrase. We can write strategic plans, but if we don’t have culture right/top of mind, strategy, regardless of how good the intentions are, often fails.

So what does a positive culture look and feel like? Here’s one example.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending our soccer matches. While seated in the stands, I observed and heard: a faculty member standing on the bleachers yelling out a running play-by- play of the match; a student saying to another student that she needed to study that night for Dr. Avent’s class; another student commenting on how his tennis matches went the past weekend; another group of students (women’s soccer team players who had just won their match in an exciting overtime) dancing to press box music after a men’s team goal.

As one student from the women’s soccer team prepared to leave she, with appreciation in her voice, said to others in attendance, “thank you for being here.”

It was a wonderful display of what makes HC great. Students from across campus making a collective whole, together in community focused on learning, participating, togethering, sharing.

As we continue in our efforts to chart the path for HC (and that path is walked by us and smoothed for those that come next), let’s daily remind ourselves of how important tending to culture is. As I mentioned at the recent commencement celebration, if we are learning anything during this pandemic (and we are learning much) it is how precious each day is and how precious each moment of each day is.

Be, belong, become. That’s what we do at HC. We come as we are; we welcome others as they are; and we become more individually and collectively than we imagined. HC-One.

So, let me echo the beautiful words I heard in the stands: “Thank you for being here.”


With great pride for our college,
Rich