A Message From the President

Dear members of the Dickinson community:

When I came back to Dickinson as president in 1999, I said that I would stay until I felt the time was right to depart (of course, barring a wish of the institution to be rid of me at any time!). You just know when that moment arrives—as difficult as it might be personally—for transition in one’s life. Well, that time is before us. I told the Dickinson College Board of Trustees at the beginning of its midwinter meeting this evening that I shall retire as president on June 30, 2013.

Elke and I have enjoyed these many years pursuing the ideals of the college and we thank those many who share our aspirations and have done so much to advance the college’s performance and reputation. We are deeply indebted.

Many of you know about my keen interest in the founder of Dickinson, Dr. Benjamin Rush. Some of his words are perhaps appropriate reference at this moment. While I certainly do not compare the magnitude of his life to mine, I note that Dr. Rush wrote about each of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He dedicated fulsome paragraphs to each. But of himself he said merely, “He aimed well.” About my time at the college I say, “I aimed.”

You shall be hearing more about the search process for the next president from Board Chair Jennifer Reynolds; however, let me express my enthusiasm, as soon-to-be former president and an alumnus, about what lies ahead. I know that the selection committee will secure an outstanding leader to continue the college’s momentum and accomplishments. I appreciated the graciousness with which my immediate predecessor, A. Lee. Fritschler, facilitated our transition some 13 years ago. I intend to extend the same courtesy to the person who follows me. As much as possible, I shall work in cooperation with the new president as soon as she or he is appointed.

My final year at the college is all about the future. I shall pursue vigorously those initiatives that best position the college for a robust and highly competitive future—especially the capital campaign and all that its continued success does for the education of our students, the excellence of our faculty and our college’s prestige and reputation. This campaign advances, in large part, capital projects that will extend well into the future and continue to provide the community with facilities appropriate to an outstanding undergraduate education. You will be hearing more about these exciting initiatives that will extend well beyond my tenure.

Again, it has been our honor and privilege to serve the Dickinson community for what will ultimately be 14 years of service.


William G. Durden ’71

Published December 1, 2011