A Day in the Life of a University President

A Day in the Life of a University President

Peter Drucker became my best friend the day he said something like this: “The three toughest jobs in the world are large church pastor, president of a small university, and school superintendent in a mid-sized town.” I’m one away from a trifecta of hard work.

Bored people would love my job because you get to change hats about 20 times in a given day. Your roles are fund raiser, friend raiser (I think the first two are actually the same), hiring discernment, strategy leader, face-of-the-institution, constituent connector (alumni, parents of current students, sponsoring church, surrounding neighborhoods, donors), official representative of the school (state association, federal government, accrediting bodies, businesses, vendors, immigration bodies, Homeland Security, banks, college associations), problem solver (students, financial aid, disgruntled parents), employee of the Board of Trustees, sounding board for faculty who disagree with the dean, author, public speaker, crisis director, sports cheerleader, dignitary for events, and person that everyone calls first if they don’t like the answer they just got. In the large university, you can’t get through the protective layers to the president. In the small university, he/she is available.

But before you start feeling sympathy, hear this. I get to see the lights come on in a student who didn’t know what they were going to do with their life. I get to sit with wealthy people and conspire about gifts that will do maximum good beyond their years on earth. I get to craft new programs that will assemble the right skill-set to address human need. I get to see the future as it unfolds daily on a gorgeous campus. I get to pray with students and worship with them and be inspired by them. I get to laugh at the fun being had by the youth of our faith. I get to hear stories of generational families. I get to explore the disciplines of thought with some of the brightest people in the world. I get to hear an array of chapel speakers that humble and challenge me. I get to participate in asking and answering the hard questions about life. I get to present about 800 diplomas every year, knowing that these people are God’s gift to the world.

Budweiser was wrong. It does get better than a cold beer. A whole lot better. I experience it every day in my work as a university president. And Drucker might have been right, too.

Comments

  1. Such a lovely, and enlightening, article 🙂 Such a noble life balancing God and earthly work. You have my utmost respect Sir. In fact, you may be the person I most admire in this life….Along with Mike Rowe (The guy who did the Dirty Jobs show)….

  2. Pam McGraner says

    This brought tears to my eyes. My daughter is a junior at TNU and she loves this school so much. So do her dad and I. We felt the love of God & family the minute we drove onto campus the night before an “Inside Trevecca” day in November of 2011. We knew that this was the right place for Caitlyn and so did she. She had always said that she wanted to live at home, attending a college in our city, but because of her mentor, Zach Daniels, and what she saw that day, she changed her mind. You were an enormous part of that Dr. Boone. The words you spoke, the welcome you gave and your sense of humor made her and us feel right at home.
    Each year is a challenge financially, but God has helped us and now we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just another year and a half before, Lord-willing, we will watch our daughter accept her diploma from you. Neither my husband nor I were able to graduate college – what a blessing it will be to see her become a Trevecca graduate!
    So thank you, Dr. Boone, for all you give to TNU, the faculty & staff, and the student body. My husband and I are definitely not disgruntled parents. We are grateful ones!

  3. I like the way Patrick/Lowth/Whitby/Lowman commentary describes it in relation to Proverbs 16: 18 (“Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.”) over Peter Drucker’s assessment of tough jobs for bragging rights. “Insolent behavior is the forerunner of utter destruction: and when men lift up themselves in their own thoughts, and overlooks all others with contempt, they are in the greatest danger to stumble; and not to see that which will give them such a grievous downfall, as will break them all to shivers.”

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