Open Mind: Reflecting on a year of change and continued strength

At Founders Walk in August, I gave our incoming first-year and transfer students a compass. Each gift displayed the same 15 words: “The direction of your path may change, but knowledge and discovery will guide you forward.”

I hope that this message has resonated with those students who are now completing their first semester with us and are forging their own paths to personal growth and exploration. I know it also applies on a broader and more communal scale. It is through the act of examining where we are and plotting our future course that we each have an opportunity to grow in strength and find meaningful paths forward.

As I think back on 2019, there were many pivotal moments that will define the next chapter of Vanderbilt’s history.

These milestones remind us that Vanderbilt is—by necessity and design—a place of unexpected and constant change. Our achievements are not frozen in time, but a living blueprint for us to evaluate, assess and improve upon what we have done together.

For me, personally, 2019 has been a year of exciting shifts—what I like to call “zig zags.” These moments of transition have deepened my commitment to my priorities, my optimistic approach and my appreciation for trust, transparency and teamwork.

I wish you all the very best for the winter break and the new year ahead.