Fall in Texas brings with it a hint of cooler air as well as ushers in a season of celebration on campus and in the community. It is a good time not only to reflect on a tumultuous year, but also to celebrate the many successes of our campus and its members.
Reaching out to our alumni remains one of my highest priorities. In meeting with them, I find their personal stories are a testament to individual achievement and to humility as each of them invariably stresses the positive role that Angelo State University played in their lives. While they remember individual faculty, staff and friends, it is the sense of belonging to a community which has stayed with them over the years since graduation. Since I believe that their stories can be of immense benefit to our students, we will initiate a new mentoring program this spring. Each month we will link students to an alumnus via Skype during a “brown bag” lunch. I’ve asked these alumni to speak about the traits and attitudes that current students need in order to succeed in a highly competitive work environment after graduation. It should prove to be a valuable interaction for all.
Expanding international opportunities for our students has also been in the forefront of my efforts. In mid-November, Dr. Sharynn Tomlin, Dr. Won-Jae Lee and my wife, Barbara, traveled with me to South Korea to visit several universities in Seoul to expand on relationships we have developed over the past year. A specific outcome was a partnership agreement signed with Sejong University to create a 1+3 exchange program. This partnership will allow 100 students annually to take their first year at Sejong University and then attend ASU for three years of study. Thus, at the height of the program we will host 300 students who will add greatly to the internationalization of our campus and community. Additionally, ASU students will have extensive opportunities to study abroad at Sejong and experience the culture and history of one of the most important emerging economies in the world.
Finally, I wish to acknowledge Dr. Jim Limbaugh as he leaves for the position of Chancellor of Montana State University-Northern. Over the past three years, Jim has ably led our strategic planning process, as well as prepared our various SACS accreditation reports. His efforts have created a planning framework to achieve Vision 2020’s multiple goals, which are integral to the success of Angelo State University. On behalf of our entire university, we wish Jim and Trish well in his new position.
In conclusion, Barbara and I wish everyone a safe, healthy and enjoyable holiday season.
Joseph C. Rallo