A common saying is that the two things we cannot avoid are death and taxes. We should add a third pillar to the old saying by including change.
Change affects young and old, both genders and all races and religious backgrounds. No one and no thing is above its reach.
As we start the fall semester, one huge change began in the spring with the announcement of Dr. Paul Matney’s plans for retirement. All students, employees and faculty will feel the results of that change, but none more than our newly selected president, Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart.
One of the greatest fears that many at the college had before Lowery-Hart was chosen was that whoever was given the position wouldn’t understand the uniqueness of the Amarillo College institution.
Our student body is made up young men and women getting their “Start Here,” as the advertising campaign promotes, to students who are reinventing themselves in the midst of raising families and working full-time jobs.
The college also has a wide variety of academic pursuits, from welding, auto mechanics and law enforcement on the East Campus, dental and nursing programs on the West Campus to the basics such as history, math, English and science on the Washington Street Campus.
People in some departments worried that a new leader would not understand their efforts to educate a community as a whole.
The math and engineering heads, still feeling Gov. Rick Perry’s idea to cut funding to junior colleges statewide, worried that a new president would affect the much-needed Math Outreach Center, which provides tutoring to students at no cost.
They weren’t the only ones. The mass media program had a great benefactor in Matney. He truly believed in the power of communication, and it was evident in the quality of AC Current magazine, The Ranger newspaper and acranger.com, the newspaper website. Would a new president see the need to support the 100,000-watt radio station, FM90, run by students?
A vein of discord even arose from the community at large about the size of the net that was cast to pinpoint a new chief.
With the selection of Lowery-Hart, all fears should be laid to rest.
He has a love and understanding of this area and college; we saw it up close when he took time out to show up on a hot May Sunday at the set of the “Start Here” commercial shoot on the West Campus.
Lowery-Hart thanked the crew members of Panhandle PBS filming the ad and also the student volunteers and dancers who appear in it – this while still only a candidate for the job.
His last name gives you even more insight into the type of man and leader he will be. Wanting to honor his wife’s family legacy, he incorporated her last name of Lowery.
To some that may not seem a big deal, but it shows a willingness to acknowledge the past by embracing new ideas outside the box.
Change is all around us these days, from a high school graduate taking the first step out into independence to someone who has not been in school for 10 years and wants to change the path of his or her life.
President John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
One also should not look at change as good or bad but should focus on how you as an individual handle and accept it.
We surely have no need to worry about a change in leadership at AC. With the naming of Lowery-Hart as our new president, a bright and challenging future awaits us all.