It is a pleasure and an honor to join you today at this very important occasion in the life of the University of Iowa. Our student leadership is critical to the success of the university. The transition of power to a new student government is always a time for celebration, but it is also a time for reflection. We reflect on the excellent work and generous service that our previous UISG leaders and representatives have provided to the student body and the university as a whole. And we reflect on the promise of fresh ideas and vision when a new government steps up to serve.
It is so appropriate for us to gather for this inauguration in the Old Capitol. In this very building, our state and university were formed, reflecting the significant responsibility that rests in the hands of those who lead. While your job is not to create a state, you’re part of the great tradition that started right here in leading our great university into the future.
Students have always been strong partners in the governance of this university, and that continues to be the case in my presidency. In our tradition of shared governance, student leadership plays an important role in our consultation process as we make decisions both large and small. I always welcome and strongly consider the advice I receive from our students, and I am grateful that UISG continues to provide active and effective leadership for our student body.
Especially as student success plays such a significant role in our current institutional priorities, the student perspective is more important to us than ever. The university’s leadership, faculty, and staff seek to create the most engaging, most challenging, and most valuable educational experience possible for University of Iowa students. UISG is an important partner in enhancing both the quality of life and quality of education for the thousands of students who seek to learn and grow here at the UI.
Another major priority of the university is serving our state by making life better for Iowans. And a related priority is ensuring that our state’s citizens and leaders know about and understand the critical role the UI plays in the high quality of life and economic prosperity of our state. UISG has often played an important role in telling our story, and I look forward to that continuing into the future.
The most important way that we make life better for people in Iowa—and also across the nation and even throughout the world—is by educating students to be highly competent professionals and actively engaged community members. Your experience in UISG will make a major contribution to your own development as a student, as a highly regarded University of Iowa alum, and as a valuable participant in your profession and community. As a UISG member, you will learn collaborative and organizational skills, practice the art of persuasion and compromise, and develop your leadership talents that will distinguish you from many of your peers. So as a UISG member, you not only are an important contributor to the education we provide at the UI, but you are participating in a significant educational process in and of itself. That will no doubt be the most significant thing you take with you from your student government experience—that you learned so much.
Congratulations to you all—those who have been elected for the first time, those who have been re-elected, and those experienced UISG members who are stepping into new roles. Enjoy your student government experience, learn a lot, and I look forward to working with you to make the University of Iowa the best it can be in the coming year.