"Why are we here?"
On April 28, 2012, Carl (Tobey) Oxholm III was inaugurated as the Twentieth President of Arcadia University. The following are excerpts from his remarks.
I have now been here for almost a year. Over that time, without much fanfare and with only a little help from me, Arcadia has opened new centers in Syracusa, Italy, in Istanbul, Turkey, and in Melbourne, Australia. We have established or strengthened exciting new academic relationships in Xi'an, Dalian, Qindao, Jiangshu, Jianxi, Beijing, Nanchan, all in China; in Galati, Romania; in Havana, Cuba; and in Jerusalem, Israel. We have expanded our engagements in Paris, Rome, Russia, and Singapore.
Our students today have the opportunity to learn not just in Glenside, King of Prussia and Christiana, Delaware, but in 75 cities in 22 countries on six continents around the globe. I can think of no other university like ours! Arcadia is truly a Gateway to the World! And in each of those places, we do our best to immerse our students in the life and the culture of their new communities—even having them do public service there. Those are some of the reasons why our style of overseas education is so highly valued and respected by our international partners.
In the years to come, it will be our goal to bring faculty from those universities here as we send our faculty there, and to greatly increase the numbers of international students studying here—greatly enriching the education of all our students.
Here in Glenside, our faculty and staff have been hard at work over the past year building new, strong, and wide bridges with local high schools and with the community colleges in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. This is a national imperative, and we will enthusiastically do our part. Our partnerships will not only benefit the students in those schools, but their faculty and administrators as well, as we share with them our expertise and global reach.
Each and every day, we are transforming the lives of our students. Just this past month, we sent more than 300 of our first year students to 15 countries for spring break. I went with some of them, and saw the change it makes in them—remarkable changes in just one week. Virtually every one of them returned with greater personal confidence, and with a whole new appreciation for how privileged we are to live in the United States, and to study at a university of such excellence.
One of the students wrote me afterwards about his experience, and I find his comments compelling. This is what Jayson Flores '14 wrote:
After Preview I see the world in such a different way. I have never left the country, so this was a brand new experience for me. The world seems much smaller to me now. My experience in China has filled me with a hunger to be more globally aware. Through the news in America, we often do not get an adequate amount of information about countries around the world. They used to seem so far away and unreal to me. But to be in China, and seeing people going through their life and struggles, it showed me that there is so much more to the world. I find myself looking at stories about China on the internet, trying to keep myself updated on the goings on of Shanghai. It would not be an exaggeration to say that China Preview changed my life.
For all of our students, the possibilities here are great indeed. Through Preview and Global Education Programming, through Interdisciplinary Courses and public service projects, through the curriculum and our innovative Global Connections program, we are intent on exposing each and every one of them to the richness of the world's peoples, cultures, faiths and traditions.
They will leave here for jobs and careers whose challenges they will master because of the creativity and imagination and resolute intensity they have learned here. And I tell you this: the students of Arcadia will have an advantage out there in the real world, and it comes straight from our mission. For our students, diversity will not be something they have to contend with or get around.
Just as it was with Beaver, so it is today: our doors are wide open and welcoming of all students of academic ability and promise, and our mission remains to help those without the financial resources to pay. This is a true service to the nation and to the world because we believe that the world is poorer when poverty prevents talents from being identified and developed. And I want to thank our alumni and other donors who have established over 40 endowed scholarships to support students [during our recent Campaign].
Having experienced the world first hand, students will see in diversity a richness that adds value and perspective, whether it be with colleagues in the office, with business partners in other countries, or with patients and customers. Our students, almost like no others, are globally sensitive, and we are preparing them to succeed and lead in an increasingly complex, and very diverse, global economy.
That is our mission. That is why we are here. Each of us is privileged to be part of it, because it is with a sense of purpose that we can meet each new day and each new challenge, because of the joy that comes from seeing growth and achievement in the eyes and minds of our students, and because each and every day we are creating—scientists in how we think, artists in what we do, athletes in our stamina, passionate about our lives.
From the Commons, our newest building, we can now look out and in a single gaze be reminded of the history of this wonderful institution, from the Wishing Well to Grey Towers Castle, from Landman Library to the Jane Carlin Wing of the Health Sciences Center, in which our nationally top-ranked Physical Therapy program teaches its students and helps restore a measure of freedom to their patients. We see the flags of the countries to which our students have been going since 1949. It's from that long, proud history—of academic innovation and excellence, community service and global concern—of Beaver College and Arcadia University—that our future is rising before us.
It is springtime here in Arcadia. The skies over our heads are the brightest of blues, the trees are glorious greens, there is a strong wind at our back and a clear path lies ahead.
This is a wondrous place. I love it.
We have all the ingredients of success, and I am eager to help us realize our enormous potential. Thank you all once again for giving me the privilege and honor to serve Arcadia University as its Twentieth President.
"It is now my privilege to present to you the official symbol of the University and the Office of the Presidency. This is the Presidential Chain of Office. It is the symbol of leadership worn by the President at all academic ceremonies. The Chain contains the seal of the University which is displayed behind us. While the chain dates only from 2001, the seal has been ours since 1872 when Beaver College was first accredited as a college. In the center of the seal is Minerva, the Roman goddess of knowledge and wisdom. She is seated in the midst of rays of sunlight. It will remind you always that your job is to illuminate and energize this university, while you remain under the intense glare of the public spotlight. We thank you for your willingness to bear for us all this heavy obligation of leadership– symbolized by this very heavy chain."
— Margaret Wright Steele '80, Chair, Arcadia University Board of Trustees
Greetings from Arcadia and Around the World
Eleven representatives of the community welcomed President Oxholm. Watch Greetings videos.
"Arcadia…what a great university, here in the region, providing tremendous support for young people and those who are young at heart to pursue their dreams and their commitment in regard to their own educational attainment and opportunity."
— Michael A. Nutter, Mayor, City of Philadelphia
"I extend on behalf of educators and the universities in China, our most sincere wishes to President Oxholm and the entire University. May you be guided by wisdom and driven by justice. May Arcadia flourish and prosper under your watch. From China, we wish you and all Arcadians the very best in the coming years."
— Ruiqing Du, Ph.D., President Emeritus, Xi'an International Studies University, Xi'an, China
"As our students and faculty continue to explore and learn together, either by crossing the Atlantic or using state-of-the-art tools, AGS is proud to be part of Arcadia. I personally was impressed meeting both Kim and Tobey. I was impressed particularly by your energy, your modesty and your humanity. My AGS colleagues here today and those in Paris, myself, look forward to continuing to be part of the academic and Arcadia family as it embarks on its next years under your leadership."
— Eileen Servidio, Ph.D., President, American Graduate School, Paris, France
"As his first ten months of leadership have demonstrated, I believe we have in President Oxholm a visionary individual who will ensure that this dynamic and committed institution will reach its next level of achievement."
— Bette E. Landman, Ph.D., President Emerita, Arcadia University
"Tobey knows the transformative effects [the liberal arts] can have on students because they have had that effect on him. Amherst is proud of you today, we are proud of you today, and speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are pleased that you will now be devoting your intellect, energy, heart and passion to the benefit of a place we have all come to love, Arcadia University. May the sun continue to smile upon the face of you and the University. We congratulate you and wish you nothing but the best."
— Hugh G. Moulton, Trustee and Past Chair, Arcadia University Board of Trustees
"Today a large contingent of alumni is here to share in this special occasion. We believe it is an important moment not only in the history of our alma mater, but also in setting the vision and goals for its future. Mr. President, our alumni share and embrace your visions for Arcadia's present and future and we wish you great success."
— Faye Senneca '59, President, Arcadia University, Alumni Association
"Tobey you have infused this community with an enthusiasm and a vibrancy that will invigorate us as we together meet the challenges of this vastly complex world and step up to the responsibility that we have as educators, and as privileged members of the human family. You take to heart our purpose to educate our students so they can become their best selves and thereby create the most ingenious of tools and ideas that will prepare them to go into the world and take their place as stewards and leaders."
— Ana Maria Garcia, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice, Arcadia University
"Tobey has really opened up his life and his home to all the students. He's become somebody at this school that everybody respects and looks up to. What he has done in the last year alone is unbelievable and I cannot wait to see where Arcadia will be in the future with his leadership. From all the students, I welcome President Oxholm and his family to the Arcadia family."
— Ekta Digen Butala, Class of 2014, President, Student Government Organization, Arcadia University
"It is my belief that President Carl (Tobey) Oxholm III will build upon the legacy of Arcadia University through its cherished roots as Beaver College toward a future that fulfills the Arcadia Promise for not just every student, but for every individual who is a valued part of our Arcadia family. "As I look back and reflect on the experiences I've had during my first year of graduate studies, I can say with confidence that President Oxholm was also brought here to the right place, at the right time, for all the right reasons."
— Stephen J. Tyson, Class of 2013, International Peace and Conflict Resolution Master's Program, Arcadia University
"My fellow staff members and I join together in congratulating President Oxholm on becoming Arcadia's 20th president. Tobey, you have a very dedicated and hard-working staff. We proved this to you in your first 100 days in office.
"Arcadia staff is a willing partner in helping our students to interact with diverse peoples, cultures, attitudes and perspectives that span all years and aspects of our students' education. Together we are making Arcadia our gateway to the world. Once again, congratulations and happy inauguration day."
— Sue Gettlin, Chair, Staff Council, Arcadia University
"President Oxholm, we in American higher education have extraordinary opportunities and responsibilities before us in this amazing, diverse global community. I commend you for your professional expertise, your leadership and your commitment to serve. Arcadia University has welcomed you to the presidency because you understand the power of education and you value the human experience wherever we can explore it."
— Ali Asghar Houshmand, Ph.D., Interim President, Rowan University