Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Good (president) is Hard to Find

The Sound and the Fury by Faulkner is my favorite book. This is probably the reason I got to spend a lot of time with our infamous former president, Joseph "Jurgo" Urgo. I think its important for the St. Mary's community to reflect on why Joseph Urgo is no longer president of St. Marys, and what the elite forces who have facilitated the search and who will help (and inevitably) make the final choice should take into consideration.

The president is the face and voice of a school. Jurgo's face was fine... it was the lack of excitement in his voice that disappointed me. SMCM deserves a president who is an expert orator, or at least someone who can feign passion while representing our school. Compare a speech by Jurgo to a speech by the president of UMBC ( In a world that judges from the top down, our president needs to be able to effectively make arguments for the benefit of our campus and inspire a student body, arduous tasks that I believe are outside of Jurgo's skill set.

Jurgo, like Obama, did not come into a perfect situation. However, he made one call that I still can't figure out. Rich Edgar was one of the best Admissions directors I have ever met would be the ideal president for the school. He is the reason I, and many others, choose a small rural school. He sold his argument. He embodied SMCM's spirit. Rich... if your reading this right now, I beg you: hint at the idea that you would resume a role as an administrator at SMCM once again. The entire student body would have your back, and you could return to where you are desperately needed.

I started this post about Faulkner, which is directly related to why I still respect Jurgo. He was present every week at the grind, and a case could be made that he was the most visible/accessible administrator during his reign. I would watch countless students walk by while he would read his newspaper. Maybe he realized that not many students would talk to him and needed literature to pass the time. Maybe he was interested in being visible, but not speaking with students per se. What cant be taken away from the man is that he was there to speak with. I asked him about Faulkner, about hiring good temporary professors, about his "pub" and rumors that he wanted to change the name of the college to "SMC". We need a president who can inspire legislators to bring this school to its highest level of performance. But lets not forget about Jurgo, and his commitment to creating frequent opportunities for president/student interaction.

I know the high pay checks require high qualifications, but lets make a goal to support a president who will support us. Kelly Smolinsky, Dean Ifill, Rich Edgar... those are just names, but they are all people who I dream about running this school. A last semester senior has the right to dream on 100 days, right?

Everyone drive safe tonight,
<3 - Sami


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  4. Thank you for your kind words. I have not written publicly but I felt I just needed to say hello and thank you. Over the last two years I have been humbled by the strong connections that I made at SMCM. The College is a special place with remarkable students and staff.

    Soon the College will find a new direction. A turn in the road toward success. I am excited to watch the new president come on board and I wish her well as she begins to learn about the special place on the river called, St. Mary's. It will not take her long to feel the positive energy and strong commitment of the students and staff and I hope she will quickly cherish that strength and warmth.

    Again, thank you for your thoughts and friendship. Oh, and most importantly...........have a wonderful next few months and a lifetime of good memories as a proud SMCM Alumni :-) Congratulations to you and all the seniors! Now, go change the world!