It was the thrill of a lifetime to be introduced November 1 as the next president
of Hendrix College. After reading just about every page on the Hendrix website,
looking the College up in every guidebook I could find, and meeting with the presidential
search committee, I had some idea of just how extraordinary the Hendrix community
is. But I was still impressed and touched by the warm welcome I received last Friday,
and indeed every day since. I want to thank all the students, faculty, and staff
who came out to meet me, and all the alums, trustees, parents, and supporters who
have emailed and phoned since the announcement. I look forward to getting to know
you all better and hearing your stories of what makes Hendrix College so very special
among America’s leading liberal arts institutions.
As I have told many people, my process so far of getting to know Hendrix has
been like drinking from a fire hydrant. Of course, I still have a huge amount to
learn, but I already think I am getting a clearer sense of Hendrix’s unique values,
distinctive personality, and remarkable strengths. More than anything, though, I
have been impressed by the people I have met around campus: the students are bright,
engaged, and enthusiastic; the faculty are deeply committed and highly accomplished;
the staff, at all levels, are professional, great at what they do, and invested
in the College’s growth; the trustees are dedicated to the success of the school
and have high expectations for the future. And, of course, Hendrix is an absolutely
beautiful, completely captivating place, sheltered by trees, hugged by a low stone
wall, and buzzing with intellectual activity and true fellowship.
I feel blessed to be joining you in Conway, as does my wife, Marjorie Swann,
who you all will be meeting (and some of you will be studying English literature
with) in the coming months and years. Until we arrive on campus at the start of
June 2014, I will be using this blog to chronicle my experience of becoming part
of the Hendrix community, as well as to provide you with some insight on who I am,
where I came from, and what values and aspirations I bring to the College. I hope
you will keep reading these posts, and that you will feel free to contact me anytime
with your hopes and dreams for the future of Hendrix College.
Dr. William M. Tsutsui, Dean and Professor of History at Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at Southern Methodist University, was named the 11th President of Hendrix College. His presidency begins June 2014.