from the University of Oregon
Several hundred people gathered Wednesday afternoon, July 12, to welcome President Karl Scholz to the University of Oregon in his first of several scheduled meet-and-greet receptions.
About 300 members of the faculty, staff and student body stopped by the sun-drenched Erb Memorial Union Green to say hello to the president, hear him speak and enjoy some ice cream on a warm summer afternoon.
“I cannot tell you how excited I am to join the University of Oregon community and to serve as president,” Scholz said. “The enthusiasm and appreciation for this university that I’ve experienced … it is inspiring.”
Scholz touched on his plans to get to know the UO community during his first few months and beyond, his commitment to public higher education, and his desire to foster an even greater sense of belonging. Dozens of people lined up for the opportunity to personally welcome Scholz to campus, some snapping photos with the president.
“My focus for my first few months will be to listen and learn,” Scholz said. “Of course, I come with experiences and ideas of how to enhance our already outstanding university. But these ideas will be informed by you and by immersing myself in our UO campus and community.”
Scholz went on to share that he anticipates his initial focus to be on student success and activities that leverage the university’s strengths to generate a global impact.
“What is clear to me: UO is an outstanding university,” Scholz said. “It is a university on the rise. But in the coming years I want it to become even better. As we improve and grow in prominence and reach, our students will be more successful, our research will be more impactful, our contributions to the state and world will be even more profound.”
Longtime university employee Johnny Earl introduced Scholz to the audience at the event. Earl had an opportunity to meet Scholz while serving on the presidential search committee.
In his introduction, Earl noted that one of the first steps Scholz took when meeting the search committee was to acknowledge his privilege as a white man in America, and the responsibility that entails. Scholz went on to say with that privilege he has a responsibility to make sure that everyone has the same opportunity that he has by having that privilege.
“That stuck with me then and that sticks with me to this day,” said Earl. “That was powerful.”
Scholz’s next meet and greet is scheduled for noon on Thursday, Aug. 10, in the lobby of the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact. Additional gatherings are expected to be held in the fall.