Nine years ago, on a cold and clear Montana winter day, Patricia and I drove into Bozeman and began one of the greatest adventures of our lives. We thought we were well prepared for our duties as I became the 11th president of Montana State University. We both suspected that this university, and this beautiful state, would be a good fit for us. Yet, we were not prepared for the warmth of the welcome we received during that first frigid winter. We had no idea of the depth of support and friendship that would come our way in the years to follow.
Patricia and I have known for our professional careers that it takes an entire university community to make an institution like this one work well. And MSU does work well. As I finish the final details of my position, I see clearly the progress that all of us have made together.
Several achievements resonate with me: the emphasis on student success in the university's culture; the establishment of a system of shared governance; the bolstering of Native American education on our campus; and the ranking of our institution on the prestigious listing of Carnegie Research Universities. When I first came to MSU, I said that I was not a "bricks and mortar" president. Yet, the campus' landscape is revamped. And, even in these challenging times, MSU is in good financial shape.
Through my years here there have been times of great elation. There have also been times of great sadness. Sometimes, there were frustrations. But, I would not change a day of those last nine years, even the hard days. Because you need challenges to put life in context, to balance the equation. Those times help us to become strong, to keep on an even keel and to move forward. And this university is moving forward.
Patricia and I have been deeply honored to be able to play leadership roles for MSU and for Montana. And, as we move forward, we will do so from our home outside Bozeman. That's something else we didn't realize when we first drove into the Gallatin Valley. We did not know then that we had finally come home. We have become Montanans. Neither of us was born here, but it is here that we now belong.
Thank you for stepping forward with your gracious gifts of time, talents, resources and friendship. We hope to keep our connection with you alive. We look forward to seeing you again, in the classroom, in the community, or even out on the trail.
Geoff Gamble, president