In a ceremony punctuated with moments of both sober reflection and lighthearted humor, President Robert O. Davies Tuesday accepted the official responsibility of serving as Central Michigan University's 15th president.
Faculty and delegates in their formal academic regalia joined students, staff, alumni and guests from around the country gathered in Warriner Hall's Plachta Auditorium to participate in the official investiture ceremony, listening intently as Davies shared a bold vision for CMU's future.
The CMU Board of Trustees appointed Davies president in August 2018. He began his official duties Sept. 1, 2018. The investiture ceremony is a long-established university tradition which formally invests the authority of office to the new president and often serves as a platform for new leaders to share their vision for the future.
'Our brand of excellence is unique and well worth celebrating'
In his remarks, Davies emphasized the need for CMU to own its status as an integral member of the American higher education landscape.
"Our university achieves incredible successes. We often simply neglect to recognize our own prominence," he said.
He highlighted CMU's reputation as a nationally recognized university.
"We are leaders in education and research who are committed to improving the world around us. It's one of the differentiating factors that first drew me to CMU," he said.
Davies recounted the university's long tradition of innovating and adapting to meet the needs of students, the state of Michigan and the world beyond. He called on every member of the campus community to dedicate themselves to ambitious ideas and bold action to move the university forward.
"The attitudes and behaviors we exhibit today and every day — the decisions we make today and every day — set the tone for Central Michigan University's next 126 years."
Before closing his remarks, Davies shared his thoughts on the university's favorite words: Fire Up Chips!
"They are a clarion call to action, pushing us to step beyond our comfort zone so we can reach our full potential and rise together to meet challenges head on."
Presidential pomp and circumstance
Symphonic Wind Ensemble opened the event with a prelude concert, followed by a grand processional led by honorary grand marshal Norma Richardson from the
Department of World Languages and Cultures.
Other dignitaries, campus and community members, and guests who brought greetings included:
President Davies' father, Richard O. Davies, shared reflections on his son's career progression and leadership style.
"This will be a campus where the president will encourage and support faculty in all that they do, emphasizing the importance of personal interactions with students in the classroom and laboratory. He will encourage faculty to excel in their research and service endeavors and recognize the important contributions that staff make to support those educational endeavors," he said.
Richard Davies is an emeritus professor of history at the University of Nevada, Reno, where President Davies received his undergraduate degree in management.
Moving forward together
Tricia Keith, chair of the CMU Board of Trustees, was joined by Vice Chairs Richard Studley and Robert F. Waldrop II as she formally installed Davies as president.
"Today, we present you with the presidential medallion, engraved with the university seal and the Latin words sapientia, virtus and amicitia — wisdom, virtue and friendship — reflecting this institution's highest and longest-held values. Dr. Davies, you are now the custodian of these values. We are confident that you will uphold them," Keith said.