President Wayne D. Andrews
Spring Break Reflection-March 25, 2006
It's Saturday morning in Morehead Kentucky. I've been back from Gulfport, Mississippi since Thursday. I had to leave our Spring Back trip early to attend a Council on Higher Education meeting in Frankfort on Friday. The Council approved MSU’s tuition for 2006-07. I spent the rest of the day Friday at the state capital talking to legislators about our priorities. This was important and timely as the General Assembly was preparing to go into conference to resolve two very different versions of the proposed budget for the next biennium. I believe that, in the end, MSU will be ok in this budget. But in the grand scheme of things, MSU is a very healthy institution. I didn’t learn that in Frankfort. I learned it in Morehead and it was reinforced many times in Gulfport, Mississippi. Let me explain.
As president of MSU, I know we are a very good institution. We've been ranked in the top 25 institutions of our type in the South by U.S. News & World Report for the past two years. Our faculty and staff are excellent, hard working and dedicated to the learning of our students. Our scholarship is appropriate for our type of institution. Our faculty demonstrate interest to expand in this area. Service to our region is the passion of many on our campus. We strive to take our University into the community in many different ways. Our goal is to improve the lives of all that we serve. We are accomplishing that goal, one person, one family, one community at a time.
Those of you keeping up with the news from Gulfport know that 117 students, faculty and staff participated in Spring Back. This was our attempt to demonstrate that we understand that there are many in the world needier than ourselves. It was a way to put our understanding into action by serving others. We went to Gulfport to learn, to understand and to make a difference. I believe we accomplished those goals and much more.
I am very proud to lead an institution that has the heart and character of ours. I was asked many times during the course of our travels, where was I from. When I replied Morehead State University and that we had a group of 117 people with us to assist with the relief effort in Gulfport, people were astounded. They wanted to know what we did to convince that many to give up their spring breaks to travel and help others. My reply was simple, all we did was ask. People signed up because they saw the opportunity to help others.
So what did we accomplish? We tore off and put on roofs. We gutted the interiors of several houses that had been completely submerged under water. We cleaned up lots of debris. We put the finishing touches on many homes with drywall, paint, trim and flooring. We cleaned bathrooms and showers used by the army of volunteers. We transported materials from the relief center to the various work sites. We got to know each other. We encouraged others. We learned about teamwork and the power of a positive attitude. We learned that while we are burdened with many of life’s problems, our problems pale in comparison to those we were able to help.
We learned that the people we helped were enormously grateful. Their faith in the goodness of others shined through. We saw their courage, fortitude and desire to rebuild under very difficult circumstances. They made us feel very good about ourselves. They saw the very best in us.
We learned, once again, the power of personal commitment and the blessings we receive when we dedicate ourselves to others.
This trip was a strong affirmation that MSU's future is very bright. I believe we can accomplish anything we choose to do because of the people associated with our University.
Wayne D. Andrews, President