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Higher Ed Community Embraces Laurie Leshin as New President of WPI

In anticipation of Leshin’s upcoming Inauguration, academic leaders from coast to coast offer congratulations, praise, and some useful advice.

November 5, 2014

Colleges across the United States are sending their well wishes and compliments to Laurie Leshin as she prepares to officially take her place as the 16th president of WPI during her Inauguration on November 7-8. Presidents, chancellors, deans, and alumni from 75 colleges and universities will travel to Worcester to attend the Inauguration festivities, and many more have also extended their congratulations through certificates and thoughtful letters.

A Perfect Fit

Many well-wishers know Leshin personally or by reputation and believe that her impressive experience and strong leadership abilities make her a great choice to lead WPI:

“Your exemplary leadership, experience, and commitment to innovative solutions to education, societal, and policy issues make you the perfect choice.”

—Ricardo Romo, President, The University of Texas at San Antonio

“This is a wonderful and well-deserved opportunity, and I am heartened that this important role in now held by a member of our UCLA family. I am confident that your vision and your wealth of experience will help ensure WPI’s continued upward trajectory.”

—Gene Block, Chancellor, UCLA

“Your experience and leadership skills will bring the Worcester Polytechnic Institute to a new level of excellence.”

—Heather Wilson, President, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology\

Warm Welcome

Several educational leaders congratulate Leshin on her new role and look forward to working with her to tackle challenges in higher education across the nation:

“In the coming years we will see many changes and face many new challenges in higher education. I am personally delighted that we will have the opportunity to take on some of these issues together, and I am pleased that the community of higher education will be able to count on your strong leadership.”

—Scott Coltrane, Interim President, University of Oregon  

“I firmly believe that the work we do to provide high-quality higher education to our students is vitally important. A well-educated public is necessary for the survival of our democracy, our economy, and our collective future. I commend you for joining the fight for a better tomorrow by accepting the role of college president.”

—William M. Tsutsui, President, Hendrix College

A Bright Future

Leshin’s peers also anticipate the achievements she will make at WPI as she extends and builds upon its history of excellence and innovation:

"This is a significant historical accomplishment, but more importantly, a significant personal achievement as your vision, dedication, and stewardship will certainly expand the mission of Worcester Polytechnic Institute.”

—Stephen Spinelli, President, Philadelphia University  

“I trust that you will be inspired by the opportunities and challenges that await you, and that you will be able to bring your own vision for Worcester Polytechnic Institute to fruition.”

—George W. Hynd, President, Oakland University

“I look forward to seeing your tremendous accomplishments in this position.”

—Devorah Liebermann, President, University of La Verne

Up for the Challenge

University presidents offer advice based on their own experiences, noting that the position brings both joys and challenges, for which Leshin is admirably prepared:

“As a fellow president, I understand the joys and challenges of this role, and I sincerely pass along my good wishes as we work together to promote higher education in our country. Your list of accomplishments is impressive, but your evident passion for educating young minds is remarkable.”

—M. Duane Nellis, President, Texas Tech University  

“I can testify that leading a university is both enormously challenging and gratifying. With dramatic shifts in the economy, student demographics, employment markets, and technology-based education, it is an especially interesting moment in the history of higher education, and there is a real opportunity for university presidents to lead with new vision. Worcester Polytechnic Institute is fortunate to have you.”

—David E. Van Zandt, President, The New School

An Event to Remember

Everyone agrees that the Inauguration is a special and significant event, for both the incoming president and the institution and its community:

“An inauguration is always a time of joyful beginnings…. As you assume your new duties I hope you will be energized by the challenges and opportunities facing you and that you will bring your own vision for the college to fruition.”

—Scott Flanagan, President, Edgewood College

“The inauguration will be a very special moment in your life and that of your institution.”

—Paul D. Sarvela, Interim Chancellor, Southern Illinois University

Government Recognition

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick also extended his well wishes to President Leshin and praised WPI’s success in preparing students to make an impact in society:  

“Founded in 1865, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has been a leading academic institution in the Commonwealth. The administration, faculty, and staff of WPI understand the critical role higher education plays in preparing our students for the workforce in the 21st century global economy. I am proud of your commitment to academic excellence. 

Today we honor Laurie A. Leshin and wish her the best as she begins this new journey as WPI’s President.  Her leadership and impressive track record will provide students at WPI with the tools they need to succeed in growing and strengthening our nation’s economy.”

—Deval L. Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts