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UConn Advance

Community talking about inauguration
April 11, 1997

As President Philip E. Austin prepares to be inaugurated Thursday as UConn's 13th president, faculty and staff, students and alumni, donors and policy-makers say they are looking forward to hearing his remarks and learning more about Austin's vision for the University:

Thomas G. Gutteridge, dean of the School of Business Administration:
"I expect President Austin to clearly articulate a vision for the University. And to help set the tone for what's expected of all of us. The inauguration is not just simply an event celebrating the installation of another president. He'll be setting the stage, our norms and values.

"I'd like to see him build on the strong base that we have here - and it's important to say that we are already a strong University. I'd like to see him build on that, to catapult us into the next millennium, to really achieve the strategic plan that everybody has worked so hard to codify. I want him to make great strides helping everybody move down that path."

Tim Weinland, professor of curriculum and instruction, School of Education, and member of the University Senate:
"President Austin brings a certain grace and style, confidence and intelligence that builds confidence and respect for the campus and the University. He's had a marvelous start and I hope that would build into the kind of support that we need.

"The inauguration is basically a chance for everybody to focus on how leadership can and ought to function at a university. It's a chance for him to describe his early impressions and where he hopes to go. It's part of the honeymoon."

Gov. John G. Rowland:
"Dr. Austin is an impressive individual with an impressive background. I know he is the kind of leader who can take UConn to the next level by increasing private donations, overseeing the UConn 2000 project and developing new partnerships with the private sector. Dr. Austin can make our flagship university an example for the rest of the country."

Peter Deckers, dean, School of Medicine:
"I think he is an exceptionally bright and talented administrator, who clearly is experienced. This is not his first time at running a major University and that's obvious. He is a quick study and he does his homework. He understands the problems. He can articulate not only the problem but his thoughts relative to solutions quite directly and quite easily."

Michael Allenby, president-elect of SUBOG:
"My impressions have led me to view Philip Austin as a leader possessing the knowledge and vision, acquired through his past university administrative experiences, to change a university for the better. I think this campus is extremely fortunate to have such a powerful leader, but the University must also realize that with vision comes change. Change, especially within this state university system, requires extra work and responsibilities.

"... I feel that the inauguration will serve the purpose for which it is meant. The ceremony should honor the new president as well as allow Austin to speak on behalf of himself and his administration. An opportunity such as this is especially appropriate given that Austin has had six months to assess the main concerns of the University and now has an chance to address the entire campus, in person, regarding the goals and a vision relating to these concerns."

Barbara Redman, dean, School of Nursing:
"I have extreme admiration for President Austin based on his track record in other states and the way he's related to other constituencies since his arrival here. The clarity of his vision has been apparent and we have been invigorated by his leadership. We are newly optimistic about the future of the University as a result.

"I think the president has already clearly articulated his vision on many occasions. But the inauguration gives him an opportunity to get many people's attention all at once and I think his vision will become even clearer at that time."

Mana Zarinejad, editor, The Daily Campus:
"I'm very grateful University officials have chosen not to have an extravagant affair. It shows the state we're serious about watching our limited monies. I'm hopeful, within his speech, that President Austin will outline his vision of how we can improve the academics at UConn. Our focus here has been on the budget problems for the last few years. There's a dire need to assess our academic needs as well."

Denise Merrill, state representative:
"He brings a very thoughtful perspective to the University. He has a statewide perspective that is somewhat new for the University. For years we've talked about how we want the University to be a resource for the state and to be something that belongs to all parts of the state. Phil Austin argues that case convincingly ... He impresses me most because he is very direct and yet steady. He answers things directly and he has a very forthright attitude, which is very refreshing when you work in state government."

Louise Berry, member, Board of Trustees:
I am very impressed with his performance as our new president. He is an articulate and thoughtful spokesman for the University. He has a good grasp of the issues facing the institution, and I look forward to many years of leadership at UConn.

Kirklyn Kerr, dean of the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources:
"I'm very pleased so far with what President Austin is trying to accomplish. His primary goal is to sell the University as a valuable resource to the General Assembly and the rest of the state. The inauguration is a very important event from the viewpoint of visibility for the president and the University to the rest of the state. It's important to let the general public know about his presidency. The inauguration provides him a forum for where he thinks the University should go."

Brian Collins, president of the Undergraduate Student Government:
"I hope what the inauguration does is act as a forum for the whole University and the whole state to get a look at him, to listen to what he has to say. People want to hear what he's been doing and why he's going to do even better in the future."

Ronald Taylor, professor of sociology and director of the Institute for African-American Studies:
"He should never forget to find ways to stay in touch with the people here who do much of the work, like faculty and staff. As he works to protect the interest of and generate resources for the University he also needs to remember to stay in contact with people on the ground, so to speak. I think it would be death if he were to become an anonymous president."

Kathleen Dechant, assistant professor of management, Stamford campus:
"I'm optimistic about President Austin's potential and the impact he can have. I believe he sees beyond local constituencies to the broader environment. I really see him as extending his outreach to multiple constituencies. I think that every strong leader needs to have a clear and strong vision to get people committed to his leadership. If President Austin is to lead us into the next millennium and beyond, he needs to continue to articulate his vision for the University."

Robert H. Gray, dean of the School of Fine Arts:
"I think we have a brilliant president. Thus far, President Austin has demonstrated strong and informed leadership - exactly what we need at this extremely complicated moment in the history of our University.

"... There is always some public confusion about presidential inaugurations in higher education. While the president is certainly involved in the occasion, it is actually a University event - a celebration by the academic community."

Inauguration - Thursday, April 17, Jorgensen Auditorium

  • 1:30 p.m. All people processing gather in Jorgensen Gallery for robing.
  • 1:45 p.m. Doors open to the public.
  • 2 p.m. UConn Wind Ensemble, conducted by David Mills, begins welcoming the public.
  • 2:20 p.m. Processional begins.
  • 2:30 p.m. Peter L. Halvorson, University Marshal, opens ceremony.
  • Singing of the National Anthem by Albert Lee
  • Greetings from students, alumni, faculty and staff, General Assembly, Board of Trustees, Gov. John G. Rowland.
  • Investiture of the president by Rowland and trustees chair Lewis Rome.
  • Inaugural address by President Philip E. Austin.
  • Singing of the Alma Mater.
  • Recessional begins.
  • 4 p.m. Public reception, Student Union lobby and patio. Open to the public.

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