It was a sweet welcome for Clark University’s incoming president David B. Fithian as the campus community gathered to meet him and his husband during an ice cream social Monday afternoon.
The event, held in Higgins Café, gave students, faculty, and staff a chance to get to know the next president, a fellow Clarkie who graduated from Clark in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and English.
When he begins his duties on July 1, Fithian will become the University’s 10th president. He succeeds David Angel, who has served as Clark’s president since 2000.
“I’ve had such a fantastic experience here. I’ll say it time and again because it’s true: Clark really did change my life and has set me down the path I’ve been on since graduating, which has been devoting my entire life to higher education,” Fithian told the crowd gathered in the dining hall. “I feel like I’ve had such a wonderful career up until this point, and it is really a wonderful thing to be able to take what I’ve learned since I left Clark and come back and try to contribute to making it a great experience for students.”
Fithian was joined for the meet-and-greet by his husband, Michael Rodriguez, who he said is equally as excited to join the campus community.
While digging into their ice cream, students, faculty, and staff lined up to chat and have their photos taken with the pair. Many said they were eager to share their thoughts about the university and to learn more about Fithian’s priorities for the future.
Mya Stafford ’22 was among the first in line. When she saw the news that Fithian had been elected to the role, she couldn’t wait to meet him.
“I’m really excited about Clark getting a new president — specifically someone from the LGBTQ community,” she said. “It makes me hopeful for the future.”
Nardin Sayoufi ’23 said that he was thrilled by Fithian’s obvious enthusiasm for assuming the role of president. She believed it was important to meet him because she’ll be spending the next three and a half years at Clark.
“I felt it was really important that I come and see the person who is going to be the new president and just be familiar with him,” Sayoufi said.