| To the Emory
wise person said long ago, “Where there is no vision,
the people perish.” Emory is a place of remarkable potential
for a great and achievable destiny. It must, therefore be as
clear as possible about its vision and principles. An important
role of the president of a university is to help the university’s
disparate parts find a way of articulating their shared vision,
simply but compellingly.
One of the most
immediate opportunities before us is the shaping of such a concise
statement of shared vision—a statement that we all agree
can guide us in the coming months, as we begin to develop a
strategic plan and aim for a comprehensive financial campaign.
As I have listened to faculty members, staff members, trustees,
students, and alumni over the past two months, certain clear
themes have emerged. From these conversations I have tried to
distill some initial thoughts of what Emory University wants
to be, and perhaps in large measure already is.
What follows is
a working draft of that statement. I emphasize the words “working
draft.” It has been through three revisions by the President’s
Cabinet and has benefited from commentary by many others. I
put it before you for your thoughts, comments, suggestions,
objections, helpful glosses, approval, editorial refinement,
or rejection. My only request is that, if you leave it in tatters,
you replace it with something better. Eventually we may want
to revise our more complete “Mission Statement of Emory
University” in light of this shorter vision statement;
but for now we should strive to be as concise and pithy as a
Over the next six
weeks, I invite all of you who read these words to comment.
(This site is restricted to Emory network users.)
On November 5th, the President’s Cabinet and the Deans’
Council will meet in retreat to consider your good advice and
hammer away further at the document. In the end, I hope that
enough of you will have seen and commented on this statement
to make its next edition truly a collective work that all of
us can agree represents the key elements of our shared vision.
Admittedly, the results will still be a “working draft”
(although far better refined) and will remain so until we complete
together a more inclusive strategic planning effort in the months
ahead. We do not need a perfect statement at this point. But
even this refined working draft of our vision statement will
give us initial guidance for strategic planning to accelerate
our fundraising activities. It will also help to focus and to
guide many of our operational decisions.
Thank you, in advance,
for your assistance and involvement in getting us off on this
first important step of our journey together.
James W. Wagner