As tens of thousands celebrate the 22nd Annual Double Decker Festival this weekend, I thought it would be a great time to share some thoughts about the importance of arts and culture to our university community. Anyone who has visited Ole Miss and Oxford — even just one time — knows that the cultural life of our university and town are second to none. It is no mistake that Visit Oxford touts our description as the “Cultural Mecca of the South.” As Sharon reminds me, the arts keep everything vibrant and relevant, and members of the Ole Miss and Oxford communities have immense opportunities to take advantage of the arts that are so conveniently located.
I relish my role as the voice of the university. Since arriving at Ole Miss, I have made it a priority to expand communication and connectivity via personal visits, town halls, informational blogs, and robust use of social media. One of the great benefits of doing so is that not only do you get to hear more from me, but in addition I get to hear from you — faculty, staff, alumni, and students. Especially students.
It is great to be back into the swing of things with the start of our spring semester! Our campuses are always transformed and re-energized with the return of our students and faculty. It is also a new calendar year, which offers a great opportunity to take stock and reflect upon the previous year, as well as share some thoughts about all we have to look forward to in the coming months.
Today I am writing about a powerful event — the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Panel — we hosted on campus on October 28. The panel highlighted and celebrated the many ways our university supports and encourages innovative thinking and entrepreneurial activities. I walked away from the event energized by how much the audience benefitted from the inspiring entrepreneurial stories and informed perspectives shared by our distinguished panelists and dynamic entrepreneurs.
Dear Students and Colleagues:
As we take a brief break from a busy academic year and gather in the coming days with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, we have much to be grateful for here at the University of Mississippi. First and foremost, Sharon and I are grateful to count ourselves as members of the Ole Miss family and the LOU community. We are a family filled with committed students, creative faculty, dedicated staff, and passionate alumni. I appreciate all you do as members of this community to enable our role as a flagship university to advance society through learning, discovery, and engagement.
After 10 months on the job, the day of my investiture finally arrived. And what a day it was! There was so much emotion and such amazing moments, I wanted to capture as much as possible — photos, tweets, memories, speeches, music — and what better way than via my blog.
To everyone who attended and to those who watched via the livestream — thank you! If you missed it, you can watch it here. I’ve even marked out some of my favorite moments:
- “Clarinet Marmalade”: 0:59
- Welcome to platform party: 5:30
- Introduction of special guests: 26:12
- “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”: 1:18:00
- Commissioner Boyce’s charge and my uniquely Ole Miss answer: 1:29:40
- Investiture Address: 1:32:30