Advocates for holistic learning, social justice, change creation and virtuous leadership
By James Steinbauer, Editor-in-Chief
Gregory Crawford was officially inaugurated as Miami’s 22nd president on Monday. In his address, Crawford laid out his vision of what he called a “new chapter in the university’s 207-year history.”
“Our gathering celebrates the entire story of this amazing university: its proud past, its promising present and its bright future that we will shape together,” Crawford told the thin gathering of spectators that attended the ceremony in Millett Hall.
In a more than 30-minute speech, Crawford outlined the challenges that he sees Miami University facing in the 21st century: widening gaps between rich and poor, inequities and fearful reactions to rapidly evolving demographics and economic and technological changes.
At around 2 p.m., a a cadre of students, faculty and staff marched with Crawford from the Hub to Millet Hall, escorted by Miami’s marching band and followed by a ceremonial cowerson of bagpipers.
Crawford was accompanied to Millett by past Miami presidents David Hodge and James Garland. At around 5 p.m., with help from Chair of the Board of Trustees David Budig, the former presidents draped the 50-year-old presidential medallion over Crawford’s neck.
It was the first time the medallion had hung on a hand-sewn ribbon adorned in red and white peepankišaapiikahkia eehkwaatamenki. The traditional Myaamia ribbon work design of elongated diamonds underscored Crawford’s focus on diversity throughout his speech.
So did the presence of Doug Lankford, chief of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, who spoke before Crawford about the long-standing relationship between the Tribe and Miami University’s past presidents.
“Who would ever imagine the one day Tribal leaders would be welcoming new university presidents to campus?” Lankford said. “The Miami Tribe is proud and honored that this land, the rivers and this great institution continue to bear our name.”
Ian Young, a member of the Miami Tribe and a 2016 graduate from Miami University came back to witness Crawford’s inauguration as a sign of solidarity.
“I came back as an alumnus because the relationship between the university and the Tribe is something that is incredibly important to me,” Young said. “And I feel that this new president bodes very well for continued growth in that relationship.”
In his address, Crawford struck a hopeful note on the challenges that Miami is facing and devoted much of his attention to explaining how they can be solved by collective values.
“After 103 days on the job (but who’s counting?) what excites me the most is how connection is so central to our lives at Miami,” Crawford said. “In order to meet these challenges, we must achieve what I call meaningful connectivity. Finding synergy and synthesis among the vast diversity of our world to solve problems.”
Crawford laid out a platform of four mindsets that he said will help Miami do just that: holistic learning, social justice, change creation and virtuous leadership.
“In our coming months and years, you will hear me talk a lot about the importance of entrepreneurial thinking, partnerships, inclusivity, community, unity and society. All which require an advanced, meaningful connectivity.”