Monday, August 11, 2008

The Summer of Daniel .....

As summer winds down and preparations for fall crank up, many of us at Midland College are getting ready for thousands of arrivals, and one departure.

That one departure, though, is a significant one ... Dr. David Daniel is stepping down as President of Midland College, effective in mid-August. This will bring an end to seventeen years as one of West Texas' top educators, and the longest tenure of any of our three MC presidents ...

... by whatever standard you apply, it has been a remarkable tenure. Following in the footsteps of Al Langford and Jess Parrish, David Daniel has taken an active and imaginative role in developing this school and the community it serves.

It was during his tenure that the Davidson Distinguished Lecture and Cowan Performing Arts series were inaugurated; that a bachelor's degree program was added to the curriculum; that the Cogdell Center was established in south Midland and the Advanced Technical Center in midtown; that the Williams Regional Technical Training Center was established in Fort Stockton; and a multi-million-dollar bond issue was passed to fund a campus-wide program of renovation and new construction ...

... and those are just a few of the high points.

Not surprisingly, people are sharing a lot of 'Dr. Daniel stories.' Here's mine ...

One of the more remarkable job interviews I ever took part in, was with Dr. Daniel, which took place earlier this year. I had returned to the United States just 24 hours earlier, and most of me was still operating on Thailand-time when I went in to interview with a committee for a job at MC. This was followed by a second interview with Dr. Daniel, in his office, accompanied by Dr. Eileen Piwetz, one of the college's VP's. We found Dr. Daniel at his desk, writing 'thank you' notes to a list of people who had participated in some college function - he set that aside, and the interview began.

He noted that I was born and raised in the east, and we talked about that some, and about his own experience 'back east.' He also noted that my resume included a stint as editor of the newspaper in Fort Stockton - a community with which he was very familiar - and we talked about that, and about mutual acquaintances we shared. But then we turned to my college transcripts, and he noted a bad grade I earned in "Human Evolution" almost 30 years ago at the University of New Mexico, and we talked about that. (So remember, kids, when someone warns you about a "permanent mark on your academic record," they mean it!)

Then it was Dr. Daniel's turn to talk, and he shared with me his vision of Midland College, and what he expected of the people who worked there ... paused for moment, then said, "and welcome aboard." I'm afraid I did a double-take, like something you see in the cartoons, before I finally got around to realizing I was hired.

My tenure under Dr. Daniel has been a brief one ... but I am genuinely glad we were able to connect. In just this short time, I have come to appreciate the role he has played in nurturing the community college community of which I have become a part.

Thank you, Dr. Daniel ... good luck and God bless.

2 comments:

Janie said...

Dr. Daniel probably doesn't remember me, but I've shared many a flight with him. He always reminded me of a gentle giant...one who got much done, quietly, but thoroughly, and always to the good of others.

Jeff said...

Janie, on every point, you are absolutely right.