Photo Gallery | Brien Lewis installed as new Catawba President
SALISBURY - Catawba College’s 23rd President Brien Lewis conjured images of an exciting voyage into the future for the college at his inauguration ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 28. The ceremony marked an official beginning for the 45-year-old president, who joined the college in April.
Citing one of his favorite philosophers, “the venerable trainer of Jedi Knights, Master Yoda,” Lewis recalled a Yoda line from one of the Star Wars movies and even mimicked Yoda’s voice saying, “Always in motion is the future.” He used the quote to expound on the shared responsibility necessary to move Catawba forward from its today into its future.
“So we stand at the bottom of the mountain together, knowing that this is not our first mountain. It will not be our last. There is much to do. But we are ready. And we are grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to make a difference,” he told those gathered in Keppel Auditorium.
“Aaron Sorkin captured it perfectly when he wrote: ‘Every time we think we have measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we’re reminded that that capacity may well be limitless.”
Lewis outlined some strategic directions he would lead the college community to explore in the coming months. These included the investigation of new academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; the in-depth study of ways to reshape the academic calendar for the 21st century and how time and the college organization is structured; development and implementation of comprehensive plans for competitive compensation for faculty and staff, sustainability, campus development, marketing, and the securing of resources to fulfill goals; and an analysis of establishing benchmarks and milestones by which “we will choose to define Catawba’s trajectory and ultimate destination for our lifetimes.
A song, an original dance, a poem penned especially for the occasion, and a rousing final anthem to the Bruce Springsteen song, “Waiting on a Sunny Day,” showcased Catawba’s student talent and provided highlights, smiles and levity to the formal event.
Representatives from Catawba’s Board of Trustees, Alumni Association, Faculty Senate, Staff Council, and Student Government Association brought greetings during the ceremony, along with the president of the North Carolina Independent Council of Colleges and Universities, Dr. Hope Williams, and Salisbury Mayor Paul Woodson. Delegates from 42 universities, colleges, and learned societies, Catawba College Trustees, Faculty, Members of the Class of 2013, and three former Catawba Presidents were in attendance, as were many family members, friends and colleagues of the Lewis family.
In his concluding remarks, Lewis, a native of Canada, paraphrased the parting words that Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s made upon his retirement as Prime Minister of Canada:
“Our hopes are high.
Our faith in the people is great.
Our courage is strong.
And our dreams
For this beautiful, beautiful Catawba
Will never die.”