Tomorrow New President will be inaugurated. Oddly, although I have been at Zenith University for 16 years, and have "served under" (ahem) four Presidents, this is my first inauguration. When I first arrived at Zenith as a teeny-weeny untenured Radical, a mood of gloom had already settled over our campus. Our Methodist architecture can tend to give the impression of gloom anyway, even when we are not feeling gloomy. But this particular gloom had descended because the Bald President, at his inauguration the previous year, had said, "Let's not kid ourselves. This isn't a university. This is a college," or some such thing. Now, since he had come from Railroad Magnate U., one might assume he was simply being descriptive when he looked around and saw six brick buildings, fifty wood frame houses, some newly built concrete bunkers and a few hideous Bauhaus glass boxes and thought he saw a little liberal arts college, not a mighty university. It may be that he is one of the few college presidents to have been booed at his own inauguration. At any rate, after the students bombed him and he was ridden out of town on a Coke bottle, no one has ever made that mistake again.
Girl President had no inauguration: she was an interim appointment, and was then burned at the stake. Then along came the Big Guy, who became a special friend of mine, and was a big relief all around. I can't imagine why I missed his inauguration, but I think he must have said something like: "I will stop your precipitous slide into chaos, show you how to not constantly insult the wealthy so that you might help me raise pots of money, wipe that Railroad Man from your memory, build some big shiny buildings that will dispel gloom, and as a bonus I will liberate funds to hire new faculty." I think this is what he must have said because that's what he did, and I can vouch for the fact that he was a man who kept his word and paid his debts.
So what can we expect of New President, whose inauguration is tomorrow, and who the Radical will dress up in fancy purple robes and floppy hat with gold tassel to honor? Well here's a start, just announced on the Zenith web page:
"Beginning with the first-year class enrolling in the fall of 2008, most students whose total family incomes are $40,000 per year or less will receive an aid package that substitutes grants for any loan obligation. Beginning with the same class, all other students who receive aid will graduate with a four-year total loan indebtedness reduced by an average of 35 percent. Aid packages will include a single student loan, the federally subsidized Stafford Loan. The interest rates for Stafford Loans are among the lowest available."
You can read the whole story here, and if you are one of the six people who don't know what university Zenith is, now you will.
Needless to say, I am impressed: at the policy, at the commitment, and -- well, frankly, the panache. So happy inauguration, New President. Tomorrow is your day, and I hope you have a blast.