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ISSUE 119 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/17/2006

New president welcomed

By Jane Dudzinski
Executive Editor


Friday, March 17, 2006

Boe Memorial Chapel rung with laughter Tuesday morning as the St. Olaf community welcomed its newly decided president-elect, David R. Anderson ’74, who will replace President Christopher Thomforde in July.

After receiving a standing ovation from the crowd of students, faculty and administration, Anderson delivered a brief but humor-filled speech, living up to Regent Addison "Tad" Piper’s introduction that Anderson has, among other attributes, a "wonderful sense of humor."

"I am acutely aware that I haven’t done anything yet to deserve this welcome," Anderson said.

His speech, following Board of Regents’ Chair Jerrol Tostrud’s and Piper’s, was candid and honest.

"I have never been a college president," Anderson said. "I will undoubtedly make mistakes."

Anderson thanked the student body for its patience and the Presidential Search Committee, headed by Piper, for its efforts. He then offered an introduction about his family and addressed the issues he thinks will be most pressing in the coming years.

He expressed a desire to establish a better relationship between the current student body and the off-campus community of alumni.

"I want to build, foster and enhance the connections between campus and the out-of-campus community," Anderson said.

Anderson also emphasized the importance of building up the resources of the College; he cited affordable and accessible education as well as diversity in the student body and the faculty as two major goals.

"None of these challenges can only be met by money," Anderson said. "But [they] can also not be met without money."

The joking remarks in all of the speeches contributed to the overall light-hearted tone of the gathering, as reflected in Anderson’s closing comments.

"The College has one powerful thing in its favor: unity of purpose," Anderson said. "We know who were are and we know where we want to go. Getting there together is going to be fun."

Anderson, who arrived in Minneapolis Monday night, embarked on a whirlwind tour to get reacquainted with the St. Olaf community before leaving Tuesday afternoon to rejoin his family on vacation in Florida.

In addition to his chapel talk, he spoke with the participants of Ole Spring Relief Monday night, met Thomforde and the President’s Cabinet Tuesday morning and chatted with lines of students and faculty members in the Crossroads Tuesday afternoon.

"I enjoy being around 18- to 21-year -olds," Anderson said in an interview Tuesday. "My notion of being a president involves being around students."

In line with the tone of his chapel talk, during which he made jokes referring to the Manitou Messenger and modeled the backpack of St. Olaf gear given to him as a welcome gift, Anderson said he hopes to establish an informal tone in his interaction with students. He looks forward to attending plays and concerts on campus as well as having students over to his house.

"You have to stay away from taking yourself too seriously," Anderson said. "I don’t want to be a stuffed-shirt president. I don’t want to be just a suit."





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