A Personal Reflection in Unsettled Times

To the Community of Walsh University: A Personal Reflection in Unsettled Times
by Dr. Tim Collins, President

Our nation aches … our community aches ... our university aches.

For two weeks, we have witnessed an outpouring of emotions and civil unrest.

I have been reflecting deeply upon our circumstances and suspect that you have, as well.

I have been reflecting upon an 8-minute horrific video that is pure evil.

I have been reflecting upon an injustice that has served to fuel even more injustice upon innocent people in the wake of violence.

I have been reflecting on Dr. King’s words in 1963, “…. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred …. We must not allow our crea­tive protests to degenerate into physical violence.”

I have been reflecting on the families of those men and women with a sworn duty to protect us.

I have been reflecting upon the breakdown in our culture of civil discourse and respect for differing perspectives … nationally and locally … in what you have heard me describe as a ‘crisis of convictions.’

There is an urgent need to embrace the radical call of Christ – to follow “the Way” – such that anything with a trace of racial discrimination “must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design.”

I have been reflecting on my first-year experiences at Walsh University, what we have recently observed and how our fellow citizens are responding, and the obligation our community has in the healing that lies ahead.

We are committed to the role of independent, faith-based institutions in higher education and how Walsh University, in particular, can play an integral part in that healing.

Our unique responsibilities in higher education are to foster clear thinking, encouraging vibrant discussions leveraging all branches of knowledge, teach others how to develop and weigh possible solutions, and then make choices to improve the circumstances for those we lead and serve.

In the words of Brother Francis Blouin, FIC, … our students “must make a difference” in the lives of others.

Walsh University has invested 60 years in building servant leaders, and we need to ensure that we are serving each other today in the way we expect our graduates to serve others tomorrow.

At Walsh University, we need to always seek to be better at furthering a culture of diversity, inclusiveness, and understanding … and that requires open and honest dialogue.

I have been reflecting on the meaning of truth and the lack of truthfulness within our national dialog.

We must take a hard, fresh look at our university and assess if our mission is, or is not, reflected throughout all of our activities, policies, and the treatment of others … we need to hear our students and learn of their experiences as a critical measure of our progress.

We need to “own” our institutional culture at Walsh as well as the responsibility we share to shape and nurture this culture to guarantee that is better tomorrow than it was yesterday.

I have been reflecting upon the scar tissue many have within our Walsh University community through the lens of racial divide.

We have an opportunity in this moment … higher education is part of the nation’s solution with a transformational role – situated under the light of our values – in making our communities and our world a better place.

I have been reflecting upon my four decades of professional life – in the military and in higher education, at home and abroad, as a follower and a leader – and the injustices of the attacks on the dignity of the human person I have witnessed around the world.

I have been reflecting on my responsibilities in my leadership role as a university President … to help each one of us set course on a purpose-filled life of service and to ensure that our institution models the high ideals we cherish in America.

I have been reflecting upon my own actions when faced with situations of a colleague or neighbor being unfairly or inappropriately treated by those in authority.

I have been reflecting upon my own shortcomings, constrained by experiences, and the call to rise above them for the betterment of those I serve daily and how we can all work together in a more impactful way.

It is my personal mission to hear all voices, to share experiential knowledge and understanding and engage in new and more invigorating ways as a relationships-oriented leader.

Today, I ask you to make a commitment with me and your university’s leadership team: that each one of us will ‘take our place’ to contribute to a better Walsh University … to pursue the uncomfortableness of challenging our own bias and assumptions in the search for objective reality … and to accept our shared responsibility to ensure equal opportunity for all as we build up every person associated with our campus.

Finally, I have been thinking about you and am asking if you will share your reflections with me via  

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us to receive the gifts of courage, fortitude, and wisdom to have the critical conversations we confront so that we can move ever closer towards the fulfillment of our university’s purpose.