Speeches & Commentary

2019 Staff Day

Good morning, and thank you for allowing me the chance to be here as we recognize our staff members who are celebrating milestones.  

Thanks also to those in Human Resources for preparing this event and the entire day, which promises to be a ton of fun!

As soon-to-be Chancellor, I want to emphasize how important I believe it is that staff get the recognition you deserve for the enormous time and diligent energy you put into keeping this place running and moving forward.  All of you are incredibly integral to the success of the university, and I’m really grateful for your contributions.

Before we proceed, there’s just one story I want to tell about a legendary staff member who reminds me of these qualities.  That’s Morris Boorstin, who was Superintendent of Building and Grounds for 33 years during the early 1900s.

Morris was literally tasked with the overwhelming job of running this campus, hosting important guests and dignitaries, and keeping the grounds safe and beautiful.  Mind you, this was during the World’s Fair and a time of growth and expansion….so needless to say an enormous undertaking.

Because of his military background, Morris was nicknamed “The Colonel.”  He had an impeccable work ethic and also a way with students. He handled emergencies promptly, and even his fair share of student-led pranks — one legendary prank involving the theft of the clocktower bell clapper!

In Morris’ obituary, it stated that “there are many legends of battles of wits in which Mr. Boorstin frequently came out the victor despite the odds against him.  His unfailing good nature endeared him to the rank and file of the student body.”

Morris Boorstin’s story reminds me of the staff like you who have helped build this institution — who not only do their job and do it well, but who become a hallmark of this university because of the personal connection you share with students and with our mission.

Especially those of you who are celebrating five, 10, 15, and 20+ years of service, you have truly dedicated yourselves to the same endeavor, and you work, often behind the scenes, so that this place can run smoothly — from grounds to IT, marketing, fundraising, admissions, finance, and much more.

I can’t thank you enough, and I look forward to working with each of you in the months and years to come.