On Monday, NIU saluted its armed forces veterans with a solemn Veterans Day ceremony at the flagpole near the East Lagoon. These heroes are among our important communities living among us on campus and in the surrounding area, and our veteran community enjoys an excellent academic and social experience here. We are very thankful for their service to our country and the freedoms they protect so we can pursue excellence, as students, in our careers and in our personal lives.
Wednesday, I was honored to be inaugurated as the president of Northern Illinois University. Dana and I thank the NIU community for such a wonderful celebration. The inauguration ceremony filled me with tremendous confidence for this university’s future. We heard compelling personal stories about our hard-working students overcoming obstacles and achieving success, about faculty going to extraordinary lengths to care for students and provide them with world-class learning experiences, and about alumni who are eager to come back to campus and share their successes. Many thanks to each and every person who worked so hard to make the day so inspirational and memorable.
I’m excited about our goals to dramatically expand internship opportunities, to match every student with a mentor, and to ensure that every graduate who so desires is employed within six months of graduation. I want to again thank all of you for your tremendous support, as we think beyond traditional boundaries, focus on student career success, and strive to make NIU a model university for the 21st century.
I concluded my inauguration remarks by stating that together we will accomplish great things, and just a few hours later, our No. 15-ranked Huskie football team did just that. Fittingly, it was the Heroes Game, and I know our entire community was impressed by the tributes to our veterans, firefighters, and police officers. We have a thriving community of veterans on our campus, and we all should be proud that NIU has been recognized among our nation’s top “military friendly schools.”
Then there was the game itself. Huskie fans braved a windy, cold night, and they were rewarded with a thrilling victory. It was a special game and a special day that created memories that will last a lifetime. As a university, we face many challenges, but it’s important that we take time to recognize and savor our successes.
Together forward. Go Huskies!