What a special year this has been!
We hit the ground running last August. Within my first week in office, we welcomed all of our new students to campus and cut the ribbon on a new finance lab all while Rebecca, the girls (Elizabeth, Caroline and Emily) and I were learning how to avoid the rush at Ivanhoe’s. During one week in October, we kicked off the 175th Commission, celebrated my inauguration, hosted an Inaugural Ball and organized the first in-person Homecoming Weekend since 2019.
I have many fond memories from my first year in office. You all helped to make my 50th birthday one to remember (complete with milkshakes from Ivanhoe’s), and we will never forget our first Silent Night. All of the costumes were amazing, the 10th point was unforgettable and I will always fondly look back on serenading the students at the after-party with Emily and Caroline with our rendition of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.”
Many of us will remember that special night for another reason, though. It was also when we were able to recognize and honor Tom Jones, our distinguished faculty colleague and interim Provost. Watching Gov. Holcomb present Jones with the Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest honor the governor can bestow, stands out as a shining moment amidst a year of incredible highlights.
Among all these big celebratory moments, I will remember other special times as well — walks around Vayhinger Loop with Rebecca, student gatherings in the Great Room of Muselman House and playing games with Emily, Caroline and Elizabeth. I’ve also come to treasure the quiet, country mornings and the way the sun washes over the cornfields as I walk into my office every day.
Most of all, I will remember this special community. Soon, some of us will leave while other new faces will join our ranks. Each year, Taylor University is renewed and made stronger by the new people the Lord brings to Taylor. The people of Taylor are the main ingredient of the “secret sauce,” which makes Taylor Taylor. I am amazed daily at the generosity and commitment of the faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni and friends who make up our university.
Taylor University extended family, it has been an incredible year. Thank you for making it such a special one. I am reminded of Paul’s encouragement to the church of Philippians: “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:3-6). May the Lord bless you and keep you.