As a college president, I attend numerous functions and interact with many individuals on campus, locally, nationally, and even internationally. This includes politicians, judges, community advocates, CEOs, other college/university presidents, community youth, and members of our community.
Occasionally I am asked, as I was yesterday, “what is the favorite part of your job”? Without hesitation, I invariably respond, “the interaction with students”. I love my job and appreciate being able to rub shoulders with elected officials and presidents of colleges/universities and other organizations, but there is nothing like interacting with young people who view me as a role model and lend themselves to being enriched and transformed. It is a responsibility which I truly cherish. I enjoy the interaction with students at all levels –- from pre-K to post-graduate. I recall in my early years as an economics professor, I volunteered weekly to read to Head Start pre-K students. I read to kindergarteners now on a weekly basis and I tutor elementary school students. I also enjoy visiting the elementary and high schools to speak to students about the importance of education. For me it is an absolute joy. This is precisely why I visit classes at MCCC and find time to play table tennis, foosball, and pool with our students. I might also add that I never pass students in the hallway without speaking to or acknowledging them in some way. If time permits I ask them how they are doing and how their classes are going.
I heard and read recently that Peter Drucker, the management guru, said that the four most difficult jobs in the world are: President of the United States, president of a college/university, CEO of a hospital, and pastor of a church, in no particular order. While I am unsure why Drucker said what he did, I know the college presidency is hard work. Much of that difficulty is alleviated when one sees the fruit of one’s work — successful students whose lives are being transformed. I really cannot imagine being in any other profession than the one to which I have dedicated the last 33 years of my life. Over those years, I have continued to cling to the belief that the most important work educators who work with underserved populations (as we have here at MCCC and most of the institutions where I served) do is inspire, motivate and cultivate the belief of students in themselves. That is the favorite and most rewarding part of my job.