“If students come to this University, we are going to make them successful and we are going to support them.” That was the key message President-Designate Gregory Woodward delivered to the campus community during his formal introduction on Wednesday, Dec. 14.
Woodward, who was elected as the University’s sixth president on Dec. 13, spoke to faculty, staff, students, and other community members in Gengras Student Union. He declared his enthusiasm for the University of Hartford as a “University of the Future” and shared his intentions for his first 90 days.
“The University of Hartford is a place that is looking to be strong, sustainable, and sturdy for a long time into the future,” said Woodward. “If you were to invent a university poised for the future, it would look like this University, with its strengths and ability to blend the arts and sciences with disciplines like business, health, education, and engineering. Broad-based knowledge makes all of our lives better.”
Woodward emphasized that student success is his highest priority. He said he wants to raise retention and graduation rates by 10 points.
Drawing on his skills as an accomplished music composer in outlining his plans for the first 90 days of his presidency, Woodward likened his process to a composer “coming up with a thought or an idea, whether a sound, texture, or notes, and then spending time experimenting, analyzing, and improvising what it is, much like an engineer or data analyst. Eventually, you get a sense of what belongs in the beginning, middle, and end.”
Woodward will take over for University President Walter Harrison, who is retiring on June 30 after 19 years. Woodward praised Harrison’s “forward thinking about what a modern university looks like.” Harrison and former University President Humphrey Tonkin then joined Woodward on stage and presented him with University pins and cuff links.
Harrison told the crowd, “I’ve always wanted my successor to be somebody who shares my values and the University’s values but brings a new vision and a new energy.”
Harrison also told Woodward what a wonderful community he is joining. Members of that community had the chance to talk to Woodward after his formal remarks. If you were unable to attend, you can watch the event here.