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President Davies pledges innovation at investiture ceremony

Davies family announces $126,000 scholarship at ceremony


President Robert O. Davies is officially installed as president in Warriner Hall's Plachta Auditorium March 19. 

President Robert Davies was officially installed as Central Michigan University's 15th president March 19. He set out his goals for the university: To be bold, innovative and adaptable. 

The traditional investiture ceremony, which is hosted by the board of trustees to formally install a university president and present the presidential medallion, gives the president a chance to present a vision for the university. 

Davies used the ceremony as a call-to-action for CMU to be bold as it moves into its future.

"We must commit to an aggressive agenda that advances academic rigor and excellence in everything we do," he said. "Now is the time we develop our next bold plan."

He said CMU will be innovative by being aggressive in recruitment, focusing on interdisciplinary studies and engaging different student populations. This includes increasing efforts to attract adult learners, which Davies said is the largest and fastest growing market in Michigan.

Davies acknowledged that colleges and universities nationwide are being forced to make hard choices about their future due to declining numbers of high school graduates. CMU has also been impacted by shrinking enrollment with an enrollment decline of 21 percent in the past decade.

"We, too, are impacted and must decide: Will we maintain our status quo, hoping to remain just relevant enough to merit our own existence? Or will we choose once again to adapt and innovate — to lead — so we can evolve to meet the needs of students, employers and communities?" Davies said. "I'm confident we will choose the latter. Michigan needs us to choose the latter."

He said CMU will continue to evaluate and adapt, while continuing its course as a leading, national research university.

Davies was appointed by the CMU Board of Trustees Sept. 1, 2018. He previously served as president of Murray State University and Eastern Oregon University. 

At the investiture, Davies announced a new $126,000 scholarship fund created in his family's name, the "Bob, Cindy and Katie Endowed Scholarship."

Cindy and Katie Davies sit in Warriner Hall's Plachta Auditorium for the Investiture of President Robert O. Davies March 19.

The Davies family chose that number to represent the 126 years that CMU has been in place. Each year the scholarship amount will be increased, Davies said. 

"It's a family gift," Davies said. "We're committed to CMU, and it was important for us to demonstrate that." 

The recipient of the scholarship will be selected from a committee, and must demonstrate CMU's core values: Wisdom, virtue and friendship. The annual scholarship will go to a student in the next academic semester. 

Trustees members spoke at the ceremony about Davies' impact on CMU in his past six months with the university. Board chair Tricia Keith, who led the presidential search committee last year, spoke about Davies' commitment to CMU's core values.

"Davies emerged as the overwhelmingly favorite choice to lead Central Michigan University," Keith said. "He will charter our next course with integrative leadership and a dedicated focus on the success of our students."

Sen. Debbie Stabenow spoke about CMU's importance to the surrounding community, and to Michigan as a whole.

"I grew up in Clare, right up the road, and I know just how important this school is to the community, and our state and our nation," she said. "This school has been pursuing excellence and creating leaders."

Other speakers at the ceremony included Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe Chief Ronald Ekdalh, Rep. John Moolenaar, Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Joseph, CMU Academic Senate Chair Bradley Swanson, Student Government Association President Jake Hendricks, Director of Financial Planning and Budgets Joe Garrison and Michigan Association of State Universities CEO Daniel Hurley.