When I first interviewed for the position of president of Montana State University last fall, many of my colleagues at New Mexico State University had a word of caution for me.
"Montana," they said. "It is very cold there."
Now, a little more than 120 days into my service as the 12th president of Montana State University, and after several trips across this state during which I have met many of you, I have words of my own to describe Montana and its people. Those words are: warmth, beauty and hope.
I have found great warmth everywhere I stopped in Montana throughout my Listening and Learning Tour in my first weeks at MSU. The weather may have been cool, but I have found Montanans to be extremely warm and open as they shared with me their thoughts about Montana State University and its role in their lives and the future of their children.
I have seen great beauty during these past months, and I am not only speaking about Montana's magnificent landscape. I have seen beauty in the faces of Montanans as they told heartfelt stories about how this university has transformed their lives and the lives of Montana's communities through its mission of service and outreach.
And I have seen hope everywhere in the Big Sky State. Even in these times of historic challenges, Montanans continue to plan and dream for their futures and for the future of their towns, cities and state. I'm deeply gratified that Montana State University's land grant mission remains central to those plans for growth and renewal.
During those Listening and Learning sessions, I heard many wonderful suggestions from you, for which I thank you greatly. I am considering all of this feedback as I begin to think about key university initiatives for the future. A few themes that I have heard repeatedly from all of you will remain essential to MSU. They include the university's land grant mission of outreach to the people of the state; its prominence as a research center that promotes new knowledge as well as excellent teaching; and service to Montanans, especially through distance learning.
If I haven't visited your community yet, or had the opportunity to meet you and listen to your thoughts, I hope to have that opportunity soon. Until then, you may send me your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, I would like to invite you all to participate in the activities planned for my inauguration, set Sept. 10. More details will follow.
Until then, I thank you all for your warmth and openness in welcoming me to Montana. It is my distinct honor to serve you.
Waded Cruzado, president