Kentucky Wesleyan College formally welcomed Thomas Mitzel as its 35th president during a ceremony Wednesday.
“I’m so excited to be here,” Mitzel said to a crowd of about 100 attendees. “We have a community strength and a campus strength to do really good things. My job will be to make sure we bring that together and that I can guide it in a positive fashion.”
Former KWC president Bart Darrell, who was also present, said Mitzel had the “it” factor.
“As soon as I saw the candidates, I knew he was the right choice,” Darrell said. “He has that broad base of experience in academic program development.”
Mitzel defeated more than 100 other candidates nationwide.
KWC said Mitzel’s community- and family-oriented visions for students encompassed the university’s values, faith and character traits.
New Kentucky Wesleyan College President Thomas Mitzel talks about what attracted him to Owensboro. pic.twitter.com/SLXlyKFwgP
— Owensboro Times (@OwensboroTimes) January 8, 2020
“Students are not customers,” Mitzel told the crowd. “We’re not here to give them what they want.”
He emphasized that education is not a commodity but rather a never-ending process.
Darrell said his best advice to Mitzel to carry on the torch was “to be him(self).”
Mitzel said he came in with eyes wide open to face the college’s challenges and successes because the hiring committee was upfront with him from the get-go.
He said he will go on a “whistling tour” over the next 90 days, where he’ll meet with the faculty and students to learn their hopes and dreams.
“All the tools are there — everything is ready to go,” he said. “It’s just my job to bring it together to go forward. But with a team that strong I’ve got pretty good confidence.”