Statements from WVU President Mike Garrison, Board of Governors
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Below is the full text of statements released by West Virginia University this morning:
Mr. Chairman, I'd like to conclude my report by addressing one other issue. Since arriving on campus last April, I have worked very hard to serve as a president who is accessible, approachable, and as someone who is very much devoted to the improvement and change that I firmly believe this University needs and that its people deserve.
Specifically, we (staff) have focused on the people who make up our great University, We have focused on their future, and we have focused on their well-being. In the process, we have enjoyed a great deal of success - success in which we can all take pride. We have also, like any large organization, faced some challenges - none of which, however, should be or will be allowed to define who we are or what we will become.
Since April 23, we have worked diligently to address the recommendations of the independent panel - and we have made great progress.
But during the last six weeks, we have found the University at the center of controversy and clamor. As your president, I have been personally and deeply affected by that dischord. And, I have worked every day and literally nearly every hour of every day to make sure that the core of our precious University remained strong and sure.
My work has been supported by each of you, and I greatly appreciate your statement of support last week, and your continuing guidance and support. That support has been critical, not just for me, but more importantly, for our University. To a person, each of you has been a counselor and a friend. And through this difficult time, not one of you has asked me to step aside or to stop working; to the contrary, you have asked me to lead during this challenge.
I have stayed at the University during this important time to do the job I was brought here to do - to be president of this great University and to hold the center of this University both during success and during unrest. I stayed through this time because it was what I was asked to do - it is what a leader should do. And now, I have made a decision to continue to serve as president of WVU until September because it is what a leader in this particular situation must do.
In the last several weeks, there has been far too much talk about this issue. And far too much talk about my own future at this University.
And, after careful reflection, I have determined I am the one person who is uniquely situated to stop this dialogue with my decision.
It is by far the most difficult decision I have ever faced. But it is a clear decision with a clear outcome.
We must now get back to the celebration of our greatness, our honor, and the successes of our academic mission.
When I was named as president of West Virginia University, I was, as I remain today, humbled and honored by the opportunity.
And while the honor of serving as president will always be one of my proudest achievements, it pales in comparison to the pride I have in the two degrees that I earned from this institution. And that pride is stronger, and far more important, than any challenge we may currently face.
A few weeks ago, I received a note from a young man who was getting ready to graduate. In his note, he expressed his pride in being the first in his family to graduate from college. He also recalled meeting me during the fall and thanked me for taking the time to spend a few moments with him. And during this time of celebration for him and his family, he was caring enough to send me this quote from Dr. King -- a quote which I sincerely believe:
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
I will always stand with this University. I will stand in whatever way I can serve. And I ask that Mountaineers everywhere stand together, now more than ever, to move West Virginia University forward.
It is a privilege for each and every member of this Board of Governors to serve West Virginia University. All of us take very seriously the profound public trust our position entails. President Garrison has, by his actions today, shown he also appreciates that trust, and honors that duty.
Sometimes this great University and that public trust are far more important than any one individual or any one issue. Mike Garrison demonstrated that by his unselfish action.
The future of this University must always be the guiding criteria. Its interests and greatness are paramount. By putting West Virginia University first, Mike Garrison has reinforced our respect and the respect of the University community.
We thank you, President Garrison, for your extraordinary service to this University that you love so dearly-and for the many initiatives you, and others working with you, have accomplished in just a year.
Your decision today should initiate a call to heal divisiveness and to move forward. We call upon everyone who loves this University to work together for its success.
First Published June 6, 2008 10:13 am