President-Column1

We saw great vitality in our Rose-Hulman community at homecoming this year. We showed all our guests how we
Educate, Innovate and Celebrate with a strong sense of our purpose, and a challenge from America's greatest futurist, Michio Kaku, to the great possibilities in a technology-driven future.  Many alumni, some of whom have been to every homecoming since graduation, told me that this was the biggest and the best homecoming they had ever experienced.

Once again, we were named the number one undergraduate engineering school in America by the most popular college
ranking service-U.S. News & World Report magazine. We have achieved "Best in Class" for 13 years running.

With so many years of continued success behind us, it is time we look to the future. It is time our entire community
asks "What's next?" Can Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology go from good to best to being a great institution? It is time to begin The "Great" Debate on our future.

Throughout our history, even at our founding by Chauncey Rose, we have been vision-driven. Whenever a clear, specific, compelling, and aspirational vision of the future has been laid out for the Rose-Hulman community, we have risen to the challenge and reached beyond our grasp to achieve great things. We have a remarkable history of engineering a path to meet all our goals. It is in our DNA. It is who we are.

Many of you remember (or were involved in) previous debates about our future. In the late 1970s, when I was a student at Rose-Hulman, the leaders of our college were involved in "The Institute Commission on Self Study." This study led to a plan for the future called "The Blueprint for Excellence." This strategic plan guided us from 1977 until 1988. With it we set about transforming our good Midwestern engineering school into a good nationally recognized engineering college. It provided energy, momentum, and direction for an entire decade.

      Arthur Schopenhauer Quote
   

In the early 1990s, President Sam Hulbert organized the Commission on the Future of Rose-Hulman. The aspirational goals of this commission became the strategic plan known as "The Vision to Be the Best." Once again, our community rose to the challenge of new goals, and what was once a good nationally recognized school was set on a course to achieve the seemingly impossible goal of becoming the best in class.

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We have pursued these aspirational goals for nearly two decades, and have achieved "the best" for 13 years in a row.
Our community had a vision. We made a plan. The entire community saw the vision and worked the plan. Therefore, we
are number one still today.

It is now our duty to future generations, as clear leaders in engineering education, to stop comparing ourselves to others
and look ahead.

What's next? I believe the answer lies in a natural trajectory-good becoming best, and best becoming great. Great is a goal that no one else but the best can see. Great is required to make history. And, great changes the future.

Imagine what we can accomplish together when we focus on the tasks at hand, solve the problems we will surely encounter, and engineer the next great chapter in Rose-Hulman history.

Over the next year we are going to learn what strengths we have and how we can better capitalize on those strengths.

This is our time in history. The entire world wants the graduates we produce. The world is eager to learn how we do it. Why? The world needs to engineer solutions to pressing technological problems, and they see our graduates as being the
ones who can solve those problems.

This is illustrated by the 98 percent placement of our graduates within three months of graduation. It is obvious in the fact that our graduates are in the top 10 nationally in starting salaries. We witnessed it at our Fall Career Fair when more than
500 recruiters showed up for a chance to hire one of our 450 seniors in the Class of 2012. And, it is obvious in the requests we get for information exchange programs with delegations from China, Korea, Germany, and India, to name just a few.
As the "Best," I believe we have a genuine responsibility to lead and to have a positive impact on the future of the world
because to whom much is given, much is expected.

It's time to aspire to "GREAT."

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President Matt Branam is a 1979 Rose-Hulman alumnus.

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