With a new semester fast approaching and the ongoing pandemic continuing to present challenges, Alfred State College (ASC) President Dr. Skip Sullivan urged employees to “buckle up and prepare to take flight” during his spring 2021 Opening Remarks speech.
Delivering his speech virtually through Microsoft Teams, Sullivan began by acknowledging the fact that, “due to the combined energy, creativity, and ingenuity of the entire faculty and staff,” the college was able to live up to its mission of providing hands-on learning, career skill building, and the complete college campus experience for the fall semester.
“Every one of you should be proud of all that we’ve accomplished,” he said. “Was it easy? Heck no. Did we have to change course and make adjustments? Repeatedly and often. Did we learn from it and are we better prepared for the future because of it? Why yes. We are educators and that’s what we do to expand knowledge and grow.”
Sullivan then compared the ongoing journey that the faculty and staff have been on since last March to taking flight.
“In the fall, we made every preparation we could before taking off,” he said. “But we knew it was an uncharted course and at times we had to not only change course but also deal with unforeseen challenges. I’ve told some of you that if the engine sputtered, and we lost altitude along the way, or were unsure where we could land, together we’d find a way to make the fall flight successful and we’d come in for a landing. I’m happy to say we did so and very successfully.”
The president then recognized that while the coronavirus still poses a challenge to the college’s operations, “there are reasons for optimism ahead of us with vaccines and the promise of regaining some ‘normality’ in the not-so-distant future.”
“So, as we get ready to take flight this semester, I ask everyone to buckle up,” Sullivan said. “We’ve tried to prepare for the unforeseen and after a successful fall, we certainly are wiser. But the spring flight will present new challenges ahead of us. I’m glad that my flight crew includes all of you as we get ready for takeoff.”
Sullivan also acknowledged in his remarks that this would be his final semester as president before he retires in June. Rather than reflect on his accomplishments, the president said he would prefer to dwell on the tremendous students that he has had the joy to meet and to watch grow during their time on campus.
“I believe in being a servant leader,” he said. “I know many of you share this philosophy about measuring personal success by how helpful you can be to others. This student-centered approach keeps me focused on what’s important. We must work to keep this enterprise afloat and moving forward. Why do we do it? For the good of the students and to watch our proud Pioneers do great things in their new careers.”
Sullivan concluded by saying that he is “so very proud of this institution, the hard-working faculty and staff, and most importantly proud of our students whose lives we are able to help transform and improve during their brief stay with us on campus that leads to a lifetime of success and brighter futures.”
“Buckle up,” he said. “Our semester is about to take off and help so many Pioneers take flight for a brighter future.”
Also discussed during Opening Remarks were programs in development, facilities upgrades, athletics, achievements, the college budget, and more.