"To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under the sun."
This month marks 31 years since I moved to Iowa City to take my position as an assistant professor. I never guessed that I would serve in as many roles and have as many rewarding opportunities as I have had here. I certainly never expected to serve as vice president for student life for almost nine years. All that happened, and I am very grateful that it did.
Now, the time has come for me to start a new chapter. I am retiring soon. My last day of work will be July 3, so this is the last of these columns for me. One of the attitudes I've tried to foster in my staff and others around the university is sometimes referred to as a “positive restlessness.” The phrase refers to a sense that no matter how well we are doing, we can do better. I suppose that it means that we don't rest on our laurels.
There's much to recommend such an attitude, and also one down side. I think we sometimes don't stop and look at how well we are doing. The truth is, though I could tell you a dozen things that I'd like to see improve, the University of Iowa provides an outstanding experience for your student. Students study with some of the smartest, most passionate scholars in the world. They have myriad opportunities for "high impact" activities such as study abroad, first year seminars, and research with a faculty member. They study on a beautiful campus in a community that regularly appears on a wide variety of "top five places to live" lists. And, they can choose among a broad range of activities in which they can develop their leadership skills.
So, as I step from the stage, I'll take a few moments to enjoy the excellence that is the University of Iowa.
Melissa Shivers has been named to succeed me. She is an outstanding, experienced, student life professional and the students and staff members who have met her are enthusiastic and excited at the prospect of working with her. I have absolutely no doubt that she will bring her own positive restlessness, passion, and skills to our great university, and make it greater.
So, so long. It's been a pleasure being in touch with you, and as I say in every column, I enjoy hearing from parents at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each month Tom Rocklin addresses the parents and family members of current University of Iowa undergraduates in a column that is distributed in an email newsletter.