Under sunny skies, David P. Angel was sworn in as Clark University’s ninth president today, Sept. 24
The ceremony drew hundreds of alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends under a tent set up on the campus green, as well as students who sat on the grass to observe the induction ceremony. Delegates from colleges and universities from across the United States, as well as some from overseas, were on hand to witness Angel’s inauguration.
“The work we commit to now, together, will propel Clark forward, unambiguously elevating our reputation as one of this country’s finest research universities,” Angel told the crowd.
*Be sure to check out links to postings, pictures, videos and tweets covering the Inauguration Week happenings online, including today’s ceremony, and Thursday’s Inaugural Dinner with President Angel’s special guest Rajendra K. Pachauri, chair of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. *
In his address (read the full text here), President Angel outlined his vision of Clark University as a leader in liberal education, faculty and student research, and as a place that produces graduates who will confront the world’s pressing problems.
“At Clark we reaffirm the enduring value of liberal education as a powerful foundation for life, career, and citizenship,” he said. “It is not an exaggeration to say that our community, our country, our world needs liberal education. Liberal education enables us to approach problems through multiple ways of knowing; to probe rigorously the evidence behind the claims; to think deeply, critically and creatively; to listen, really listen, and engage in dialogue; to learn from and appreciate difference.”
“Surely as we look at our world, the challenges of climate change, of economic dislocation, the persistence of poverty, violence and inequality, the erosion of tolerance, the fracturing of civic institutions, we must conclude that liberal education is a most precious resource and an investment in our common future.”
Angel also touted his plan to enhance liberal education over the coming decade by developing “a broader set of capabilities of effective practice: the resilience to pursue a path in the face of doubt and obstacles, the confidence to act and make good decisions under conditions of uncertainty, the ability to persuade and mobilize others behind a goal, the judgment to make value-based decisions when tested, and the creativity to seek innovative solutions to challenging problems.”
Clark will be a leader in crafting solutions to global problems, he said.
“There is another call for leadership in our society today, namely, for research universities to be a renewed force for enabling solutions to society’s most pressing problems. We will respond to this call by developing focused areas of research and graduate excellence that empower action on critical human concerns.”
Colleges and universities must seek ways to address issues and affordability, Angel said.
“I believe that the colleges and universities that will prosper over the next decades will be those that have successfully navigated two challenges. They will have found ways to demonstrate more directly, more rigorously, and more visibly the benefits of the degree without compromising the educational principles upon which that value is built. And they will have found ways to slow significantly the rising cost of higher education,” he said.
President Angel expressed confidence that Clark will make long strides toward its goals.
“Among faculty, staff, students, alumni, and trustees, all, there is a palpable sense of optimism and possibility that Clark over the next decade will be a fast-rising institution,” he said. “I can assure you that we will not lack for leadership in grasping this opportunity.”
Richard Freeland, president emeritus of Northeastern University and the Jane and William Mosakowski Distinguished Professor of Higher Education at Clark from 2007 to 2009, spoke of Angel’s commitment to the University, especially his ability to approach liberal education “from an education and a strategic perspective.” He likened the appointment of some new college presidents to a “blind date” with their school. Not so with David Angel, who has worked at Clark since 1987. “This is not a blind date,” Freeland said. ‘This is a marriage.”
Reed Powell ’10 spoke of the pride Angel and Clark University have instilled in him.
“I’d like to welcome you to Worcester, Massachusetts – my city – and to the Main South neighborhood – my neighborhood, and to Clark University – my university,” he said. “Clark taught me my dream can become a reality.”
Angel also was welcomed by Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Melinda Boone, who praised Clark’s leadership in creating the University Park Campus School. State Sen. Harriette Chandler, M.A. ’63, Ph.D. ’73, presented Angel with a citation from the Massachusetts State Senate, saying, “Clark invigorates our Worcester community with energy and vitality that we would sorely be missing without [Clark’s] presence.”
During the Ceremony of Investiture, the president’s charge was given by Billy Adams, Student Council President; San Severia Marshall, President GSOM Graduate Student Council, Scott Zoback ’04, M.P.A. ’05, Alumni Association President; Kristen Williams, Faculty Chair, and William Mosakowski ’76, Board of Trustees Chair.
Zoback said Angel will work to build connections with Clarkies, past, present and future, and exert leadership “with a healthy dose of rebellion and skepticism to go along with it.”
Williams said the Clark faculty looks forward to Angel being a change agent, building bridges between academic disciplines and tending to the Clark community while also expanding the University’s reach to the wider world. She asked that Angel “lead us, challenge us and support us.”
Mosakowski urged Angel to “enjoy your role” as Clark’s leader and steward. “You are among a very special class of individuals…. The board and the Clark community raise our sights together with you.”
Musical selections were performed by the Symphonic Brass Quartet, the Clark Concert Choir, and The Clark Bars.