This fall marks the start of Bucknell's 164th year, and my first as its president. I stress this difference to underscore the fact that all of us fortunate enough to be involved with the University today are part of a greater whole. The institution we serve has educated tens of thousands of men and women across its lifetime and, through them, impacted countless others. It has overcome difficult challenges, from the obstacles its founders met, through the financial stress from which William Bucknell rescued it, to the demands of the Great Depression and now the Great Recession. It has grown and prospered thanks to the success of generations of students and alumni, the work of colleagues who have come before us and the commitment of friends who have invested their time, energy and resources in its future. As I assume the presidency, I can only step into this history with a deep sense of humility and appreciation.
Great universities are one of the few enterprises in the world that we take for granted will likely last forever. Being part of the life of such an institution is an incredible privilege. Being asked to lead one as strong and promising as Bucknell is both daunting and inspiring. Having spent my life in higher education at Stanford University, I am well aware that I have much to learn about Bucknell. I am comforted in knowing that we have an exceptional strategic plan, The Plan for Bucknell, thanks to the efforts of President Mitchell, the Board of Trustees and the campus community. I am comforted in knowing that I am surrounded by a community of Bucknellians who share a common confidence in its future. I would not have accepted the honor of becoming president if I did not fully share that confidence.
Of course, I do not come here alone. My wife,Wendy, who will be a tenure-track professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and our new son, Cole, join me. We have been deeply touched by the amazingly kind welcome we have received from Bucknellians near and far. Thank you.
Together the three of us have begun making our new home in the President's House, just across from the spectacular Grove. Out our front window, we can see the historic stone columns that mark the entrance to Bucknell's original campus. It's a wonderful reminder that whatever any of us may think about our own time at the University, we have a sacred obligation to make it stronger and better while we are here. Bucknell wouldn't be what it is today if others before us hadn't done just that. Our students certainly count on us doing so. As my time at Bucknell begins, I pledge to you my greatest efforts to live up to their, and your, highest expectations. I am grateful in knowing I can count on your help.
John C. Bravman