• Fri. Jun 24th, 2022

EKU Celebrates the Installation of President David McFaddin | New

ByLinda W. Smith

May 3, 2022

On April 29, Eastern Kentucky University hosted a number of students, faculty, and staff at the EKU Center for the Arts to celebrate the installation of EKU President David McFaddin. McFaddin, a graduate of EKU in 2002, was officially named president in August 2020. McFaddin will continue to serve as the 14th president and is the third alumnus to do so.

Those present at the ceremony included Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, former EKU Presidents Michael Benson and Doug Whitlock, EKU Student Government Association President Jenna Grace Smith, Supreme Court Justice of Kentucky Debra Lambert, members of the EKU Board of Trustees, and a number of faculty. and staff.

The ceremony was opened by EKU faculty member and senior lecturer John Strada, who served as the master of ceremonies. After the procession of university faculty, students and staff representatives, McFaddin and others, the presentation of the colors was performed by the EKU Army ROTC. Cheyenne Jennings performed both “Star Spangled Banner” and “My Old Kentucky Home”.

Beshear was the first to speak and expressed his support for McFaddin’s presidency and the university as a whole.

“President McFaddin, everyone on the Kentucky team has your back. We encourage you to succeed because when you succeed, it means our students are achieving their goals and achieving their dream,” Beshear said.

Beshear commented on the similarities between his leadership positions and those of McFaddin and how both men took office at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and applauded McFaddin’s approach to the virus.

Beshear said, “During the world’s toughest job interview as interim president, you led your university through a global pandemic, and in the process launched some great programs.”

Aaron Thompson, President of the Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education, followed and spoke about the importance of secondary education and its impact on Kentucky’s economic future.

“Our economy is booming, but our economy cannot continue to thrive and cannot thrive without a highly educated workforce,” Thompson said.

SGA President Jenna Grace Smith, EKU Regent Jason Marion and Staff Regent Jeremiah Duerson also spoke and congratulated McFaddin.

Bob Sullivan spoke on behalf of the Alumni Association, expressing their appreciation for a former EKU as President.

“It’s a proud moment when EKU alumni come together and share stories and the Campus Beautiful timeline. How unique is it that our own president has the same stories,” Sullivan said.

Troy Ellis, chairman of the foundation board, also brought congratulations from the board. He referred to the record growth in donations and endowments that has occurred over the past two years, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People invest in success,” Ellis said.

Former EKU President Michael Benson, who served at the university from 2013 to 2019, reflected on his time in college as well as looking forward to the overall goal of college.

“We are bound in a common cause,” Benson said. “The ambitious impact in which is to improve the life and condition of every person on this planet.”

He instructed the university to continue its efforts to provide an innovative education to all students as the university continues to expand its reach in the city of Richmond and beyond. Benson also applauded McFaddin, himself a first-generation student, for his efforts to improve the experience for students pursuing higher education as the first in their families to do so.

Benson said, “David epitomizes what it means to be a first-generation college graduate. He knows what access to education meant to him and his family.

Benson also wished McFaddin well as he continues as president.

“David, you are the right president, at the right time, in the right place,” Benson said.

Lewis Diaz, chairman of the EKU board, applauded McFaddin’s passion for serving students. Likewise, its efforts to make the college more accessible to first-generation students, including the BookSmart program.

After Diaz’s speech, Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Debra Lambert, McFaddin and his wife, Melissa, stood to be sworn in. After the oath, Whitlock and Diaz proceeded to the investiture of the presidential seal.

McFaddin took the stage to deliver his presidential address. He spoke at length about his time at EKU, his family’s background working for AT&T in his home county of Johnson, and our thanks to the people in his life. McFaddin thanked his family and children, EKU board members, and EKU faculty and staff. He also thanked Benson and Whitlock for their leadership and service to EKU.

“In my pursuit of excellence, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on those who left this institution before me. Eastern Kentucky University is blessed with a history of leaders who put service above self,” McFaddin said. “Two such people join me today, Dr. Michael T. Benson and Dr. Doug Whitlock, two of my greatest friends and greatest mentors and I thank them for being here today.”

McFaddin acknowledged the presence of Madison County high school students, as the ceremony shared the day with College Commitment Day.

“Today, many high school students across the country celebrate College Commitment Day. A day when they announce their own bold and innovative plans for their lives and their futures,” McFaddin said.

Despite the growth and merit that EKU has experienced, McFaddin looked to the future and expressed a desire to continue the growth of the university.

“There has always been an unwavering commitment to continue putting one foot in front of the other to achieve our mission of education,” McFaddin said. “However, today, and as we come together, the goal is not so simple as to keep moving forward, but rather to look boldly into the future with passion and determination and a pursuit of excellence to ensure that our best days are ahead of us, not behind us.”

McFaddin discussed his focus for his presidential campaign, One Eastern.

McFaddin said: “In order to achieve all that is possible, we have to work and be united. The essence of my vision for the institution is that we must be an oriental with a vision, a hope, a goal. We all need to share values, a shared vision, and we need to share our victories.

At the end of the ceremony, McFaddin recognized a close friend, Michael J. Bowen. Bowen, who attended EKU with McFaddin and lodged with the president at Keene Hall, died of pancreatic cancer in late 2016. McFaddin acknowledged Bowen’s parents, Woodford and Judy, and the impact their son has had. had on his life.

“When I reflect on my life, there are so few memories I have that don’t include Mike. In fact, for those who knew us, we were as inseparable as two friends could be,” said McFaddin.

To memorize his impact, McFaddin announced a scholarship in Bowen’s honor, dedicated to the creative and performing arts, in which Bowen would pursue a successful career.

The ceremony ended with the singing of the alma mater by the singers of EKU University, and a reception followed the ceremony.

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