Mike Brown and his wife, Nancy, have literally helped build a new university with their generosity.
New La Verne president Devorah Lieberman has been on the job for barely 100 days, but her Presidential Inaguration had a triumphant feel throughout.
This time, the standing ovation started before Devorah Lieberman even said a word.
It began as she started up the center aisle, her family up on stage, her presidency and her future awaiting at the altar.
The Sports Science & Athletics Pavilion was rock concert full. Nearly a week earlier Lieberman was in this same building for college basketball midnight madness. But on Friday, October 21, the day of her inauguration, this was mid-afternoon madness and she was a slam dunk.
Everyone was on their feet: seasoned Board of Trustees members who, through the years, had seen it all; revered academicians, secure in their national renown; tenured faculty members, crusty and aloof. All of them grinning.
Students of fraternity and sorority, stuffed into the far reaches of the bleachers held up homemade signs and hooted. Others in the audience kept silent, but reached desperately with their eyes in all directions to take it all in. History was in full view, and it was history in the making.
It’s safe to say that with nearly four months as La Verne’s new president behind her, Lieberman had made an impression on the campus, the community and the campus community in a way that few could. Her mantra in those 100-plus days has been the same as in her inaugural address — unity, unity, unity. One University. Nearly 1,500 on hand at Inauguration sent a clear message: They’re with her. They’re in. They’re One.
Lieberman has gotten the same type of reception on campus. She goes everywhere, meets with faculty, students, staff, alumni. She’s at the football games, the volleyball games, the late night student government meetings. She wants to know. Wants to know what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling, what they’re wanting.
She does everything for the students. And, she does everything for the alumni. And the faculty. She clings to the four tenets of the university’s Mission Statement the way a Supreme Court Justice does the Constitution. It’s her way or no way and her way is the way of the institution for the past 120 years.
So guess which way we’re all going — that’s right, the way the University was meant to go when it was Lordsburg Academy, Lordsburg College, La Verne College and now the University of La Verne. Don’t ask how we’re going to get there; just load the wagon.
Everyone’s on board. One of the last things Lieberman said to her very attentive audience on Friday was this: “Strap on your seatbelts.”
You’ve been warned. If the first 100 days is any indication, what follows is likely to be a thrilling and glorious ride indeed.
To read more about the inauguration of Devorah Lieberman, visit: www.laverne.edu/inauguration