What’s a typical day for YC’s president?
It usually starts between 5:30 and 6:00. People ask me, why do you get to work so early, and the answer is, “When you’re dumber than everybody else, you'd better get a head start on ‘em.” Of course, the truth is we are very lean here at York College, we don’t have much administrative support. So, we take care of a lot of the details. Typically I come in and get right into the mail and try to get ahead of the day.
Once the day starts around me it has such variety to it that you can’t predict it and you sure can’t pin it down. Between being the public face of the college in the community, going to events, handling any significant student concerns, I go in more directions than I could describe on most days. Last spring the whole softball team came to my office a couple of times to visit with me about problems they were dealing with. Students come by to visit about issues and send me emails on a variety of things. I want to respond to each student in person or by email, so that takes a good bit of time. But it’s an important part of what makes us different for our students.
I have especially enjoyed every opportunity I've had to meet many of our prospective students. That way I’ve met so many students before they enroll and then get to know them as much as possible when they get here. Of course, by the time you figure that I go to most athletic events, plays, concerts, and Wednesday night devotionals – I get to interact a fair bit. Being president is a 24-hour job.
But the greatest challenge is that there is always something in the back of my mind that I need to figure out or address. There is always something on a visceral level, where answers aren’t readily available that I and those I work with must figure out. Of course, a lot of things are out of my hands. I’ve got to depend on my co-workers. That’s why I’m glad I’ve got good people in here because the challenges in higher education right now are big.
What do you do to unwind?
I am a very private person but there are several things that I do that don’t seem to lend themselves to that. For example, I love presenting. I’m looking forward to doing a preacher’s retreat. A colleague asked me to come do leadership training for them, and those kinds of things are great because they’re interesting and the conversation is challenging. People might not think of it as a way to unwind, but when I’m working with a group, I love it. It’s a great step away from the day-to-day.
Just for pure fun though, I like to totally get away. I told the board that when I go away for vacation, I’m away. I love hunting, and when I hunt, you can’t reach me on the internet; you can’t reach me on a cell phone - I’m somewhere out in the wilderness. I love to ski; I love to participate in sports. I’m hoping to get back into skiing a little bit now that we’re a few hours from the mountains, and some of the people here like to do that. Those kinds of things are a lot of fun.