Ditzler Receives a Dynamic Albion Welcome
November 22, 2013 | By Jake Weber | More Presidential Coverage
A British Eighth fanfare set the tone for Albion's enthusiastic welcome of Mauri Ditzler, who will become the College's 16th president in July 2014. The current president of Monmouth College, Ditzler was a faculty member and department chair at the College of Holy Cross, and has held executive administration positions with his alma mater Wabash College and at Millikin University.
History professor Marcy Sacks, a member of the presidential search committee, commented on one of Ditzler's innovative ideas for Monmouth College. "President Ditzler helped reimagine recruitment methods and the student population by regularly sending buses into inner-city Chicago on weekends. Young people who might not have any other way to get to Monmouth have transportation and a message that they are welcome," she said. "In helping to open the door to Monmouth, President Ditzler has harnessed the full idealistic power of a liberal education by transforming people's lives.
"We on the search committee took that as a metaphor for President Ditzler's broader leadership style," Sacks continued. "And so I say, President Ditzler, as we welcome you and your wife to Albion College -- I'm ready to get on your bus."
As Monmouth’s president, Ditzler has made it a practice to engage in campus life, and regularly hosts students at the president’s home. "In President Ditzler,” said Zach Kribs, '15, Student Senate president and another member of the search committee, “I see a man who not only accepts us as his own, but accepts our student vision, our passion, and our spirit."
Offering a glimpse of his own vision for the presidency, Ditzler cited an interaction he'd had explaining Monmouth's distinctiveness to a stranger. "I was proud that I had an answer immediately, knowing it would be the same as others from my community. If I been asked that question nine years ago, I couldn't have answered it with confidence,'" he said, explaining that "distinctiveness" is more than positive adjectives or specific programs.
"The answer to our distinctiveness was in the community; we knew it, but we didn't have a shared idea of it," he said, noting that "distinctiveness" isn't the legacy of president. "What we need to do together is figure out what we already know makes Albion one of the finest colleges in the country, and then figure out how we're going to articulate that."
Ditzler then recalled an encounter with Nigerian author Chinua Achebe and his short story "Dead Men's Path," a commentary on historical wisdom. Comparing Albion to the school in Achebe's tale, Ditzler explained that along with promoting new ideas for the College, his presidency would articulate Albion's long-held core values as the foundation of its excellence. "When someone asks me what makes Albion distinct, I will give them an answer that I believe in, and that you believe in," he said. "Together we're going to find those answers and uncover those paths, and build that distinction."