In case you missed it, last Thursday UMMC hosted listening sessions for members of the Institutions of Higher Learning board as they search for a new chancellor of the University of Mississippi. This was one of three stops the board is making - one here, two in Oxford - to gather input from university constituents about the qualities we'd like to see in our next chancellor.
Students, faculty and staff, and alumni were invited. We had a very good turnout. I am very grateful to those of you who were able to carve time out of your day to attend these important sessions. I also know that there were hundreds of you in direct patient care and other required activities during that time, doing exactly what we needed you to do. And I thank you for that.
I attended all the sessions and "listened." Rarely do I have an opportunity to sit back and just listen for a few hours.
Several times early in the sessions I questioned my decision to attend. I was pretty sure that being there was not the most efficient use of three whole hours of my day.
I was wrong. As the afternoon unfolded, I became caught up in the proceedings because I was so touched and inspired by the comments of our students, faculty, staff and alumni.
What I heard over and over again was a great passion for what we do and a clear articulation of our mission. So many of you said, in one way or another, "We are here to improve the health of Mississippi." It would be impossible for anyone who truly "listened" during the listening sessions to escape the certainty that we are united in this mission.
There were even moments when I found myself struggling to maintain my composure because I was so deeply moved. You represented what is best in the Medical Center in an amazing way.
We have daily challenges. A big one is the uncertainty that comes with not knowing who our next chancellor will be. However, the passion and commitment you exhibited last week to a purpose that unites us makes me certain that, despite our challenges and unknowns, we will continue our forward momentum toward A Healthier Mississippi.