This is the time of year when we often reflect on the past year as well as look forward to a new one. It is a time when we wonder if we’ve accomplished what we hoped to; ponder what we can learn from our failures; and, perhaps in some way, think about how we can make our lives and the lives of others better.
As I think about what I can be thankful for, there are so many things. Let’s get the obvious out of the way. I have my health; I have a wonderful relationship; I have many warm and giving friends; and I have a supportive family.
As the President of Fulton-Montgomery Community College I have so much more for which to be thankful. FM truly changes the lives of the students who attend. When I have the opportunity to interact with students and have some meaningful discussions about politics, religion, community involvement, history and other topics — it is a true joy to watch them think about our discussion and to reflect on ideas that they may have held for years. It is rewarding to see them consider other opinions and to come to their own conclusions based on information and data.
I am thankful for the faculty and staff at FM. When you watch these dedicated people interact with students as I have for 13 years, you know that they are totally dedicated. They are truly giving to students and want them to succeed. Yes, they give their time, their expertise, and their experiences; but more importantly — they give their heart. Whether students are talking with their professor or getting advice from an advisor, you can see the caring and concern from the faculty and staff — and the students feel it. One student said to me “This the first time in my life that I felt like someone cared if I succeeded or not.” Who would not be thankful to work in such an environment?
I am thankful for the honor to work in our community. I have been asked to serve on a number of projects and boards that are trying to move the region forward. So, I am thankful to see so many people in our region care that this area grows and thrives for the citizens who live here. Change is hard. I often say “People want things to be different, they just don’t want them to change.” That is true of people everywhere. But if you step back and look at how things have changed for the better in our region over the past decade, you can’t help but be thankful. Sure we have more to do; but we’ve come very far.
I am thankful for the donors who have provided millions of dollars to FM for projects that help our college build for the future. Through these generous donations we have increased our scholarship dollars, purchased equipment for labs, remodeled the athletic facilities, created student gathering spaces, beautified the campus, built the Allen House and will be remodeling our theater.
We all have much to be thankful for in our lives. Let’s do our best to share it with everyone we meet and welcome new people to our community.