By Leah Shaw and Abbey Gingras, For The Miami Student

On Sept. 9 Miami President David Hodge gave his final Presidential Address to the students and faculty of Miami University.

Recently, Miami has created a new motto for each academic year, and a new goal for students and professors. This year’s focus, according to Hodge’s address, is Creativity and Innovation.

“This year we are focusing on how we can be more creative, and we are aiming at creating more creative and innovative graduates,” Hodge said.

Hodge has maintained these themes throughout his time at Miami, which began nearly a decade ago in 2006 and will end after this school year, in June.

Previously, Hodge served as the dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Washington.

Since Miami opened its doors as a university in 1809, it has ranked at the top of lists for various achievements and academic milestones.

“Miami continues to demonstrate excellent creativity and we continue to be the best,” Hodge said. We are already known for our innovative programs but we can still do better.”

As university president, Hodge implemented a 20-year plan for Miami construction and renovation on campus. He also oversaw the construction of the Armstrong Student Center.

During his speech, Hodge stated three main ways students can focus on their creativity this year. The first, he said, is curiosity.

“Our curiosity declines significantly as we age, which then impairs our creativity,” Hodge said. “In order to be creative, we must be curious about the world around us.”

With the new school year, Miami hopes to make good on that suggestion.

“We are trying to promote more group projects and learning environments that promote more interactive environments,” Hodge said.

Junior Mary Horner was one of many students to attend the address.

“I thought it was very interesting,” Horner said. “I really thought the part about your curiosity dropping as you age was very interesting and it was something that I never knew.”

Along with needing curiosity to be creative, a person must also be motivated, Hodge said.

“Passion is the biggest motivator for students to do something,” Hodge said. “Students are not going to be willing to do things if they do not have a passion for it.

The final component, Hodge said, is being fearless.

“Ideas without precedent are looked down on, creativity is about a student seeing and seizing an opportunity and not being fearful to do so,” Hodge said.

In the year ahead, Hodge hopes to use collaboration, persistence and initiative to help keep the creativity alive within the Miami community.

Hodge said he plans to push continual improvement and alternative structures to ensure that creativity is available and promoted for each and every Miami student.

“With the focus this year of Creativity and Innovation, Miami University can continue to be the very best it has always been,” Hodge said.

Meanwhile, the search for Hodge’s successor continues as the university takes input from community members, students and professional search firm Isaacson, Miller.

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