This will be the final Research Weekly published before Thanksgiving. I would like to use this issue to share with the campus community those things for which I am thankful this year.
Of course, as the VPR I am thankful for the hardworking teams I am privileged to lead. I’m also thankful for the growth in our research enterprise and the recognition that our faculty, students, and staff have received for outstanding accomplishments in scholarship. I’m thankful that we have paid close attention to safety in our research environments on campus, and that we’re working to infuse an ethos of safety in all we do. Finally, I'm thankful for the leadership we have on campus.
It was almost exactly one year ago that Interim President Richard Myers agreed to be named the 14th President of K-State following a national search. A non-traditional university president, Myers has brought a new perspective on the position and has proven to be an exceptional team leader and team builder. He expects us all to care for the K-State family members and to do great things.
Doing great things requires that we step out of our comfort zones. I heard Regina Dugan, a VP with Facebook, say recently, “The risk of failure is the price we pay for the privilege of making something great.” She’s leaving Facebook in January, but that’s not the point.
The point is that
risks are associated with the things we do every day
, including exploring new ideas, creating new knowledge, or seeking to design that next “thing” that will excite the world; yet, we recognize that research is risky — sometimes the answers don’t come to us, the hypothesis fails at a point that we hadn’t anticipated, or our creation is not appreciated by our critics. We learn from each experience, pleasant or otherwise, and we Wildcats prevail.
I am thankful to be at a state university that cares about its diverse family: students, faculty, and staff. Each member of this family brings unique perspectives based on her/his background, experiences, and level of education, and each family member is valued. Our family members contribute to learning, to creating new knowledge, and to engaging the communities in Kansas and around the world to advance society. For good and for bad, our freedom to explore any question or test any hypothesis without censure is risky; it’s scary. Nevertheless, it is that freedom that is the privilege and responsibility we share to make something great — to make our students, our community, and K-State great.
As you pause next week to reflect on those people or events in the past year that have formed you, challenged you, and made you feel uncomfortable, take a moment to be thoughtful and be thankful.
Without the risk of being uncomfortable, you would not have the opportunity to do great things.