On October 30, 2017, I began my tenure as the 16th president of Austin College.
The past year was one of profound milestones. For Cece and me, 2017 was life changing in so many ways. It brought presidential interviews at the same time my father’s health began to fail, which ultimately led to his passing after a full and joyous life. It brought great happiness and deep sadness. It brought an ending while ushering in a new beginning. Our move halfway across the country has been exactly what you would imagine it to be—packing boxes while unpacking reports, budgets, and articles about AC, calling movers while calling friends of the College, waving goodbye while saying hello. A new adventure is not always easy but it is what life is all about. For us, this was our time to practice what we have preached to students these past 20 years. Step away from what is familiar and explore the world. We are thrilled to do that here in Sherman!
Now we find ourselves in a new place, a new community, a new home, and a new college, looking forward with confidence and great optimism. These first months immersed in the life of the College have reminded me of what drew us to this special place from the beginning. I see a college that transforms students so that they can transform the world. I see a college that educates through personal relationships and experiences in and beyond the classroom. I see a college that has energy. I see a college committed to educating the whole student—mind, body, and spirit.
Since arriving, Cece and I have learned many things, but one stands out above all others—Austin College is defined, distinguished, and made truly special by its people. Our welcome to Sherman has been one of open arms, firm handshakes, and genuine Texas hospitality. The President’s Home has gotten a refresh (you’ll read more about that in the pages that follow), and we have been inspired, as have first families and presidents of the past, by an Austin College mission that is as relevant today as it was in 1849.
The year ahead holds great excitement and promise. I look forward to celebrating 100 years of co-education at Austin College. I look forward to making connections and cultivating partnerships not only in Sherman but across the country. I look forward to building on the proud traditions of excellence at the heart of ’RooNation. This opportunity to serve and lead one of the finest colleges in the country is one that I cherish. Now is the time to showcase the value of what we do at Austin College—transform lives through personalized learning—every day and everywhere.
So, we begin!
Steven P. O’Day
Austin College President