Dear Readers,
I must confess that penning this letter is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me since it marks my last official
communication with the IU Southeast community. As many of you may have heard, I am retiring frommy role as Chancellor
on June 30, just as this edition of the
IU Southeast
magazine is being delivered to your homes.
You may remember that I assumed the chancellorship in the summer of 2002. Back then, I had no idea that I would stay in
this position for 11 years. Why, you might ask, did I choose to stay so long
when, on average, chancellors and presidents serve only five to seven
years at a university? It was the challenge of growing something special
that held me here.
As C.S. Lewis once said, “The task of the modern educator is not to cut
down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”
Early in my career, I learned an important lesson: No single person can
grow a university – especially one as rich and complex as IU Southeast.
With the help of a dedicated Board of Advisors, an outstanding faculty,
and a highly talented and committed staff, I firmly believe that IU
Southeast is stronger today than ever before. It has truly blossomed.
As I look back over my 11-year tenure, I could easily tick off a list of
the buildings I ammost proud of: our student housing, our conference
center, the beautiful high-tech library, and the new Graduate Center
in Jeffersonville. Or I could count all of the awards our faculty, staff,
and students have won, like our biology graduate who just received the
Country Music Association’s award for best radio personality. Or I might
list all of the campus’s academic accolades, such as our top-notch North
Central Association Reaccreditation review.
The awards, recognitions, and buildings were only the cherries on top
of my IU Southeast career. It is the people that I will remember most,
including you, our exceptional alumni. You are the concrete proof of
IU Southeast’s success. In total, you number
more than
and the vast majority of you continue to live and work in our
region. You are business owners, CEOs, attorneys, doctors, nurses,
teachers, civic leaders, and journalists. All of you make me very proud.
Over the past several months, while I have planned what I am confident
will be a smooth transition for my future successor, I have been
overwhelmed by the outpouring of good wishes and support. I also have been collecting novel facts and figures frommy
colleagues about my tenure. Perhaps the most awesome and humbling revelation to come from those comments was when
someone mentioned in passing that more than 11,000 students turned into graduates during my 11-year tenure. Those
graduates are the best legacy I could have left this region, and they are the reason I chose education as my life’s work.
Thank you for allowing me to be part of the IU Southeast family. It has been a grand odyssey with an exceptional group of
colleagues whom I will continue to cherish.
Yours always,
Sandra R. Patterson-Randles
Chancellor, IU Southeast