Greetings to our DePauw Community, Families and Future Tigers,
The past two years in higher education have certainly presented challenges for which no playbooks or scenarios have ever been developed. The pandemic has reinforced for me the value of my liberal arts and sciences degrees in psychology and English, which provided a strong foundation to help me lead through unprecedentedly difficult situations, utilizing the skills and experiences that the liberal arts cultivate: the ability to adapt, communicate, collaborate, connect and think holistically to solve complex problems.
I have also leaned on my years working in higher education as a former vice president for student affairs, devoted to championing and empowering diverse students and their voices. My driving passion is to ensure that our students are always at the center of who we are and what, together, we seek to achieve. The culture and vibrancy of our student body is the first opportunity for many students to get to know and develop friendships with others who have grown up in different neighborhoods and countries. I am deeply committed to ensuring our campus is one that affirms the culture, identity and lived experience of every student and that the education we provide exposes students to wide-ranging ideas, even those with which they may be uncomfortable. Preparing leaders the world needs means embracing DePauw’s Gold Within values, including listening to and discussing different opinions, researching to develop viewpoints based on facts, respectfully arguing for or against one another’s ideas without engaging in personal attacks and believing in the humanity of others. I have always been inspired by these words by John Wesley: Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion?
Our residential environment and the close connection students form with professors and staff help us provide, inside and outside the classroom, a range of experiences that support these important values. I have experienced the incredible resilience of our community of faculty, whose teaching and scholarship is at the heart of our mission; of our staff, whose expertise and dedication to supporting our students ensures we are able to deliver an unsurpassed student experience; and of our extraordinarily successful alumni who are eager to engage with and mentor our students and exemplify the leadership qualities we seek for our graduates.
And most important of all, at the very heart of our community are our students—scholars, musicians, student-athletes, community activists and leaders, who are smart, inquisitive, thoughtful, compassionate, and a daily source of inspiration and optimism for the future of our country and the world.
I am uplifted and gratified each day as I walk around our lovely campus and greet visitors to campus and members of our DePauw family. With the launch in March, 2022 of our new DePauw Bold & Gold 2027 strategic plan – which will be the culmination of an extensive, collaborative 18-month effort involving individuals in every corner of campus plus devoted alumni -- we have much forward momentum propelling us towards an exciting future an unparalleled student living and learning experience for generations to come.
Lori S. White, Ph.D.