Message from President David T. McFaddin - August 21, 2020
Dear campus community,
It is with great humility and unwavering passion for my alma mater that on Thursday, I accepted the Board of Regents’ decision to appoint me as the 14th President of Eastern Kentucky University. With the utmost respect, I thank the board for their vote of confidence in me. I appreciate Chairman Lewis Diaz, a leader and colleague who has challenged and inspired me. I also thank the members of the search committee for their thoughtful recommendation to the board. In return, I promise to lead the implementation of a bold plan that ensures the School of Opportunity will continue to transform the lives of Kentuckians and anyone seeking a better life through education.
Today, I stand on the shoulders of giants - thirteen presidents who came before me and have blazed a trail that I now tread with respect and conviction. My predecessors have inspired me to be better, and they have offered me the opportunity to do so. I thank Doug Whitlock and Michael Benson, both of whom are mentors and colleagues who have taught me valuable lessons. I have recalled the wisdom they have shared with me extensively over the past months and years. They have my profound appreciation. I plan to make them proud of me in this role.
I thank the students, faculty, and staff who help me learn and grow every day. I know there is much to gain by listening to and working alongside our incredible faculty. Our staff is dedicated to providing the best learning and living environment possible for our students. Together, our faculty and staff are a winning combination that boosts every student’s chance for success. And our students deserve nothing less than the best path to success we can provide.
In four short years, our freshman class will earn their degrees and secure careers that power the Commonwealth’s communities and beyond. Students, we only have a brief snapshot of your life, but as a first-generation student and two-time graduate, I can say first-hand that the student experience at EKU will stay with you forever. Your entire campus community is permanently connected by this place and people from different walks of life who travel the same path together online, or through the Ravine.
Over the past eight months as interim president, I never imagined I would be leading this University, at this time, under these unprecedented circumstances. Yet, here we stand together, six feet apart, masks on, but with “open arms” as we welcome the class of 2024 to our campus. Leading this institution during a pandemic has brought me face-to-face with a multitude of tough issues. It has tested my leadership, challenged my decisions and stretched my dedication. Through it all, I have grown. What normally might have been labeled a campus “listening tour” manifested itself into countless Zoom meetings with cabinet members, task forces, campus groups and committees. I have gotten to know our campus community members better, not in an assembly at Brock, but face to face and online in the trenches of a crisis. I have been able to see the real you and you have gotten to see the real me. What I see are incredibly innovative, creative and professional individuals. I hope what you have seen is a leader who loves this University, trusts his colleagues and genuinely cares about our students and their education.
Nothing could be more important to EKU’s future in these exceptional times than the task that has been placed upon us, and we must succeed. I have every confidence that together – students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, supporters, friends, and fans – we will lead the way to a bright tomorrow. I am proud and humbled to be the President of EKU. I am proud to be a two-time graduate of Eastern. And I am proud of all of you. I will always stand with you, work with you, and succeed with you. We will occasionally make mistakes, we might not always agree, but we will work together to find a path forward. Now is the time to recognize our collective strength and unite as one Eastern if we are to fulfill the commission dispensed to us over 100 years ago. With vigor and resolve, we must leave our mark and clear the path for those who follow us.
While I am president, our actions will reflect our truth that Eastern is the School of Opportunity. We will clearly see the opportunities in front of us, think broadly about how to do what is right, never cease moving forward, feel deeply about our EKU family and celebrate our steadfast commitment to the mission. This is who we are, and this is who I am, passionate about our future and forever in service to this incredible institution. EKU is my home, your home, our home, and all are welcome. Thank you.
David T. McFaddin
President, Eastern Kentucky University
Published on August 21, 2020