“What is the use of living, if it not be to strive for noble causes and make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we have gone?”
— Winston Churchill
That was the question I pondered in my Inauguration address in my first year as the 16th president of Austin College. Since then, so much has happened. There have been new friends and faces, new programs and places, new buildings and spaces. Along the way, there have been storms, a pandemic, and the unpredictable challenges of operating a complex organization that have tested our mettle. What’s next, indeed?!
Fast forward to 2023 and it is now five years since I first asked that question and proclaimed that we, at Austin College, transform students so they can transform the world. As I reflect on this five-year milestone (a quinquennium or lustrum if you’re curious), I continue to be amazed and inspired by our students, our alumni, and all that everyone at this place does, day in and day out, to carry out those extraordinary transformations.
I am so proud that we continue to live up to my inaugural pledge, “We will continue our unwavering commitment to the personal education of the whole person and the value of the liberal arts and sciences in forming creative analytical thinkers and collaborators. Our students will be prepared for a future of wonder, challenge, and opportunity. They will lead and serve, create and solve, collaborate and communicate. This will not change.”
Evidence of all this is found in the pages of this year’s magazine. You’ll read about educating the whole person—mind, body, and spirit. You’ll read about transformation. You’ll read about what’s next. I hope you enjoy it and are proud of what Austin College continues to do as it looks forward to celebrating its 175th year, very soon.
For us, now in our sixth year, Cece and I are still inspired and proud. We continue to be committed to our calling to educate the whole person. I occasionally even remind her of one of my favorite Winston Churchill quotes, “What is the use of living, if it not be to strive for noble causes and make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we have gone?” (Don’t worry—Cece tolerates my frequent references to Churchill … most of the time.)
And now, as you ready to turn the page, I reflect on these last five years at Austin College while also looking ahead. I can’t help but ask, again … What’s next?
Let’s find out.
STEVEN P. O’DAY, J.D., L.H.D.