Dear Olin community,
As I reflect on this past year – my first year as president and a year like no other – I am struck by how far we have come together and am excited and energized by the potential of what lies ahead. It’s the same excitement and energy that began with my being named the second president of Olin, and it has continued throughout my tenure, from my first day serving as president, July 1, 2020, which included a car parade to mark the occasion to our commencement on May 16, 2021, to now, my one-year anniversary. I knew when I joined Olin that I was joining a unique, creative, caring, supportive and resilient community. I did not know, however, just how much we would all be tested as we worked through three cataclysmic events – the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice and an assault on democracy.
During this past year we have lived, learned and worked through challenges, sadness and successes together as a community. I have had the privilege of working with faculty, staff and students and seeing the dedication and commitment each of you brings to Olin every day. This was especially true in everything you did to keep each other safe during the pandemic while always maintaining our academic mission at its highest level. For all your hard work and dedication, and for always treating each other with dignity, respect and kindness no matter the circumstances before you, I thank you.
I have also had the pleasure of meeting – primarily virtually – Olin’s incredible alumni and dedicated parent network. Through your eyes I have been able to experience the true importance of our work, and I look forward to more opportunities to connect with you throughout the coming year.
When I assumed the presidency last summer, I shared with you that we would be working together to chart a new course for the college and that there would be real challenges for Olin as we set out in a new direction. Today, as we continue our transformative journey, we find ourselves presented with the dual challenges of ensuring financial stability and establishing ambitious goals for Olin’s future.
As part of our work to conserve resources and streamline our team structures, we said goodbye to some of our valued colleagues in May. At the same time, we’ve been working on a realigned structure that is best suited to supporting existing and new initiatives in concert with upholding our stance on constant innovation and transformative education.
We have articulated a strategic vision for Olin, one that will center around reducing inequity within and through engineering education. We can – and we must – lead the way on breaking barriers, changing systems and building opportunities for all people who want to learn engineering, be engineers and use their skills to contribute to their communities. We aspire to be a more diverse and aware community, and a place where everyone will be a learner and an educator.
Decisive action delivered us through the COVID-19 pandemic safely and successfully. Now, as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and we return to a more typical way of working, learning and living, we will begin to apply more strategic thinking and doing to how we operate day to day, and in the long term.
I know you share my energy and excitement for Olin and its future. As I asked you in one of my first communications to the Olin community, please continue to engage in the important work that is underway and be co-creators of our future by sharing your wisdom, passion and support. Together, we are building a stronger Olin.