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Last Word

That Wittenberg Magic
My Reflections on Life as Your New President

I hope you have had a chance to read my inaugural address, which appears in its entirety earlier in this magazine. In that address, I outline some of my early impressions regarding Wittenberg and begin to map some initial plans for our future. In the weeks since then, I have been working hand in hand with a very hard-working group of faculty, staff and students to finalize our strategic plan. I would tell you I am very encouraged both by the nature and content of these conversations. Our faculty and staff are truly impressive, and their commitment to this place is extraordinary.

I am often asked how I like being president of Wittenberg. My answer is always a quick and unequivocal “I love it,” “I feel honored everyday to be in this role,” or simply “thrilled.” I cannot imagine anything I would rather do than be the president of Wittenberg. In particular, I feel blessed to work with the 2,000 young people on our campus. They are an amazing group of students with great values, ambition and talents to bring to the broader world. What inspires me every day is the impact we can have shaping the trajectory of their lives.

This fall’s Homecoming and Reunion Weekend brought home to me the powerful impact Wittenberg has had on generations of students. Virtually all alumni I spoke with during the weekend talked about the influence Wittenberg had on their lives. Honoree after honoree at the Athletics Hall of Honor Dinner and the Alumni Awards Brunch spoke about this professor or that professor who changed their lives.

Alumni Citation award-winner the Rev. J. Davis Illingsworth ’39 captured the essence of the comments given by this year’s honorees when he said, “Wittenberg was the defining moment in my whole life.” Betty Powelson received Wittenberg’s most prestigious award, the Medal of Honor, for her commitment to four decades of Wittenberg students whose lives she helped shape. The Rosencrans Fitness Center was dedicated in honor of Rosy, and his daughter, Amy, spoke eloquently about her father’s legacy and his impact on generations of student-athletes. Wow! What a weekend! My wife and I both commented that no one told us we needed to bring tissues to these events; the emotion was palpable. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the audience at any of these occasions, including our own.

It is clear that our alumni feel a strong and meaningful bond to this special place. I must say, this makes me both very proud and very happy as your new president. Wittenberg is the kind of place that literally changes lives. And we are continuing that tradition today, shaping lives in powerful ways every day on the Wittenberg campus.

I look forward to working with all of you as we map our collective future. It will be a future that will stretch us, a future that will inspire the next generation of Wittenberg students, and a future that will be distinctively Wittenberg. It is also a future that will embrace the magic of the Wittenberg experience.

This is a great place that is getting even better. Yes, we have our challenges and opportunities, but if we can imagine the future we aspire to and begin building it, I have no doubt we will be successful. “Nothing but the best is good enough for Wittenberg.” Your support and engagement will be critical to our success and to fueling that vision. If I were a stockbroker and Wittenberg were a stock, I would invest heavily! I hope you will.

— Mark Erickson headline

Wittenberg Magazine P.O. Box 720 Springfield, Ohio 45501-0720
Phone: (937) 327-6141 Fax: (937) 327-6112

In This Issue
Around Myers Hollow
Witt World
Tiger Sports
Alumni World
Class Notes
Last Word