A New President, a New Era at MU

Paul R. Brown was officially inaugurated as the 8th University president during a ceremony that took place on the steps of Wilson Hall on Thursday, April 10. The inauguration has been anticipated by members of the University since the president’s appointment in August, 2013.

According to Brown, higher education is more than a job, it is his calling. “Those of us who follow this calling know that the real value of higher education is measured not simply by the rate of employment of our students six months after graduation; rather, it is about preparing them to think in critical and creative ways for the rest of their lives,” Brown said during his inauguration speech.

The inauguration took place months after his appointment because the president needed time to settle in, meet a wide range of constituencies and plan the ideal inauguration, Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President of Student Life and Leadership Engagement, said.

“It is not unusual for an inauguration to take place six to eight months into a president’s tenure,” she said.

Robert B. Sculthorpe, a 1963 University graduate and Chair of the Board of Trustees, presided over the inauguration and spoke about his hopes for Brown.

Sculthorpe explained that it is with “great privilege and responsibility” that the new president guides the University. “We are confident that the hopes we place in you will be justified,” Sculthorpe said. “I charge you to support and build a strong faculty… be innovative… [help the students to] reach their full potential… and inspire us with your vision.”

After Sculthrope’s words, Thomas S. Pearson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs presented Brown with the Chain of Office, which the president will wear at formal academic occasions. The chain will continue to be passed along to future presidents of the University over the years, symbolizing an unbroken chain of leadership, according to a recent press release.

Rochelle Hendricks, New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education provided a speech from the New Jersey Higher Education community. “The demands are extensive and expectations high,” she said on the topic of Higher Education. “This afternoon, I’m bringing some good news for Dr. Brown… I want you to know that the Christie Administration has made higher education a priority,” she said.

inauguration_brown_2The University is full of bright promise for the future, said Brown during his inauguration speech. “Our future success will be built by a collaborative community that embraces and supports our faculty in their efforts to inspire and engage our students to nurture and develop their best efforts as citizens and scholars,” he said.

Administrators agreed that Brown is fitting into the campus well. “He has been an open communicator and has tried to make certain that all understand the important role we play in the community,” Nagy said. He reaches out to students and is inclusive, such as when he invites students to join him at opera performances, Nagy added.

Kelly Craig, a senior political science major and the Student Government Association President, said she is optimistic about the new president and enjoys having him as such a familiar face on campus.

Craig said she is looking forward to the progress she believes Brown will continue to make. “I think President Brown is dedicated to working on improving the overall atmosphere at Monmouth and working to strengthen the academic offerings,” she said.

Craig said Brown has already made changes through the Strategic Planning Committee, which he implemented this year. “It is basically a way to look at the campus as a whole, with a focus on personal learning, and determine what aspects need to be changed,” Craig said. “President Brown is involving members of the community from all levels by creating committees that are made up of faculty, staff and administrators.”

Nagy said she loved seeing the campus community celebrate the new leader and “embrace another academic tradition.”

Kristin Waring, a junior psychology student, said, “I shook [Brown’s] hand and congratulated him before he stepped out in front of Wilson to be inaugurated. I saw the pure joy and excitement in his eyes. He loves this school and he clearly shows that in all he does.”

After the inauguration, a reception was held in Wilson Hall for all to attend. Arias by Mozart and Puccini by two University students, Kelly Thomas and Carolina Caravalho, were both performed during the reception, according to a recent press release.

The president resides on campus with his wife, Joan Fishman, at the Doherty House. Prior to serving the University community, the president served as the Dean of the College of Business and Economics at Lehigh University.

“To the students who are the heart and soul of our University, thank you tremendously for allowing me to take this journey with you,” Brown said.

PHOTO TAKEN from Monmouth University’s Facebook page

PHOTO TAKEN by Angela Ciroalo