As the final
weeks of my time as Chancellor of Syracuse University draw to a
close, I am quite naturally taking stock. While I will leave to
others the full story of my tenure, what pleases me most at this
juncture is that I leave my office knowing this is a better place
than when I arrived in August 1991.
stronger academically, fiscally, and institutionally. We have raised
the bar in admissions, and our top students have challenged us to
challenge them. We have far greater financial resources through
our growing endowment and thriving annual giving efforts. We are
a communityand here I include the hundreds of thousands of
alumni and friends across the nation and the worldthat cares
even more deeply about this institution and is more confident about
This is the
institution I will be proud to hand over to my successor, Chancellor-Elect
Nancy Cantor (see "Up Front"
story), this coming August.
On a more personal
level, my stock-taking prompts me to revisit not only my decision
to come to Syracuse 13 years ago, but also my choice of a career
in leadership in higher education. Its been my choice for
two important reasons.
First, I believe
that the creation, transmission, and application of knowledge hold
the key to a better civilization. It is an educated citizenry that
will bring about a higher quality of life through science, medicine,
government, and economic advances. It is a privilege to be a part
of this process.
Second, I wanted
to make a difference for the better, no matter where my career led
me. After all, the stresses of leadership can be truly taxing. There
are crises to weather and competing priorities to sort through,
and there is never enough time to meet all responsibilities equally.
Higher education is a complex environment where leadership is a
long, slow process with gains often not visible for years or even
decades in the future.
I am fortunate
to have seen some very positive changes during my time here. But
as gratifying as that has been, I will be even more pleased to watch
this institution prosper and grow in the years to come.
Finally, I leave
my chancellorship with a debt of gratitude to the legions of people
both on and off campus whose hard work, commitment, and, above all,
love of Syracuse University have made my work here personally fulfilling.
My wish for
the new Chancellor is a tenure as productive and satisfying as mine
has been. With your help, it will be.
Kenneth A. Shaw