Monday, December 15, 2014

A Decade as President

This past Saturday I served as the commencement speaker at Delaware State. Commencement is always a great event, so I was pleased to accept the invitation. Saturday was December 13th. On that day, in 2004, I began my work as president of Philander Smith College.

So today would have been that day, this Monday. 10 years a president is a long time. You can tell because my hair is whiter and there is less of it. There are lots of memories during that time. Always the best part of being a president is working with students and families. When you can watch someone progress and then enter their careers, get married and start families-there is nothing quite like it. It is always special to see those who don't have a clue finally get it along the way. That is the reason why I do what I do.

And yet, I think many people have an unrealistic impression of the presidency. It is a LONELY job. I am very blessed to have a wife who has been a higher ed attorney (assistant to the president) and worked in student affairs, so she really understands what I do. This is her calling too, and she often does so much for our students on her free time- people really have no idea.

But you never expect to have people dislike or even hate you because you have to make a decision they don't like, or many times, they just don't like you because you are simply the president! Right before I moved to New Orleans a colleague said, "Why would anyone want to be a president?" This job takes a toll on you and your spirit, so being grounded in your faith is the only way to survive a presidency, because you have to survive. Simply stated, if you don't know Jesus, you don't need to become a president!

So we'll see what the future holds. The first decade went quickly so I am looking forward to a second decade. This is definitely a calling.

The Prez