Editorial: Thank you, Austin, and welcome aboard, Herbst
Published: Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 23:08
President Susan Herbst's official inauguration as UConn's 15th president isn't until Sept. 16, but it's never too early to welcome a new Husky. It's also never too late to thank a fellow Husky, President Austin, for keeping the president's seat warm and our university excelling. Much has been said and written about President Herbst being UConn's first female president, but we shouldn't let that one detail, though certainly noteworthy, distract us.
The fanfare accompanying President Herbst's arrival may pale in comparison to former President Hogan's – the inauguration ceremony with fireworks, office renovations, a house nearby to live in rather than the recently restored presidential mansion, the six life-size cutouts of him around campus – but we should acknowledge and appreciate the experience, determination and vision President Herbst brings to our university.
Acknowledging that the role of a university president is steeped in philanthropy, President Herbst recently announced that she and her husband were donating $100,000 of their own money as an example of how donations are important to the university's future. In an interview with "UCONN Magazine," President Herbst said, "We must all accelerate our efforts in philanthropy. I will work hard with our alumni, donors, and other stakeholders to build our endowment and achieve more protection against difficult economic trends. Public higher education is what made America what it is."
Our new president's commitment to philanthropy and the distinctive elements of a liberal arts education are encouraging, and we should look forward to participating in her plan for our university while also reaping the benefits. Let's face it: the more generous the alumni and donors are, the more access we have to everything that makes attending UConn a one of a kind experience.
President Herbst has said that being the president of our university is her "dream job" and we should take her at her word. Our pride as Huskies is blatant and a force to be reckoned with. We know that it's sometimes easy to be too eager, idealistic and hopeful at the beginning of a new year, especially with a new president, but it's that optimism and excitement that drive us forward.