Perhaps it's ironic that the inauguration took place nearly nine months after I took over the presidency. Even though I have no doubt that assuming the responsibilities has been very real from the first moment, the inauguration has brought a kind of ceremonial and emotional closure to a prolonged beginning... As a community we prayed, thought, reflected, talked, listened, and played.
Renewing and reviving the core traditions has been my theme from the start. In reviewing my calendar, I have found that I have made more than 70 public appearances... I have spoken not just here but up and down the Pacific coast to faculty, staff, students, alumni, friends, prospective students and their families, community groups, and governmental organizations. And I have also had the opportunity to listen at all of these occasions.
After all of this, what have I learned about Saint Mary's College and the core traditions? Several ideas stand out. The alumni highly value their Saint Mary's experience in several areas. They constantly say that the great books seminar experience has made them thoughtful, critical, and very accomplished persons. When they enter public life, regardless of their profession, they say they feel extremely well prepared, confident, and noticeably more accomplished than their peers in their ability to converse and encounter new ideas and situations.
Another area is the relationships they formed while at Saint Mary's. They value highly the depth and quality of the interactions they had with Brothers, faculty, and staff while they were here, and speak fondly of the people who influenced them. This is core Lasallian value: respect for persons. All at Saint Mary's should be proud of the way we have influenced these alums.