By President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Nancy W. Dickey, January 16, 2008
"Blueprint for the Future"
My name is Nancy Dickey and I am the President of the Texas A&M Health Science Center. I want to welcome each of you here today to our academic convocation. We last gathered as an institution in January, 2006. At that time we unveiled our strategic plan for 2015 and a new mission and vision for the HSC. Since then, much has happened. We have grown, matured and changed in many significant ways.
Today's convocation is a celebration of those changes and a glimpse at things to come. The theme, "Blueprint for the Future," represents the creation of blueprints for both programmatic construction as well as physical construction.
Our ability as an institution to meet our vision and succeed in the implementation of our blueprints rests in the collective efforts and commitments of each one of you. Our leadership...our faculty...our staff members...our students...and our valued community partners. Again, welcome and thank you for joining us.
FOLLOWING THE MASTER PLAN
As I stand here today, I cannot help but reflect upon other noteworthy events that have occurred in this very venue. In September 2002, I stood here and was officially inaugurated as the second President of the Health Science Center. The first independent commencement of our School of Rural Public Health was held on this stage where Dean Sumaya and I conferred degrees upon public health students eager to serve those in need.
And in 2006, I stood here before many of you unveiling our long-range - and admittedly aggressive - strategic plan for 2015, and shared with you our renewed vision and commitment to compassionate care, exceptional education and superior science.
Much has changed since I first stood on this stage. As an institution, we have grown from slightly less than 900 students to well over 1,300 students. We have expanded our "campus" from our origins in College Station, Dallas, Houston and Temple to now include Bryan, Corpus Christi, Kingsville, Round Rock and even Austin - no Chancellor Yudof, not a medical school campus...a Public Health campus...but we are there!
Across all of our academic programs, our students are training in state-of-the-art facilities...being exposed to state of the art simulated environments and educational technologies before they put hands on patients or step foot into communities...being educated in ways that certainly weren't in place a few short years ago.
Certainly one of the most significant steps since the last time we met, we have added another college to the Health Science Center - the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy.
Though perhaps bumpy at times, these changes have been good - good for the Health Science Center, good for the Texas A&M System, and perhaps most importantly, good for the state of Texas and the citizens of the State.
Our scientists, teachers, staff members and students are making a difference.
Scientific discoveries are leading to the establishment of biotech organizations committed to preventing and curing disease. Individuals from underserved communities have access to invaluable health care - and health education - that was not previously present. Those living on limited means are being helped to get access to much needed prescription medications. Members of the aging population are leading more active and healthier lives. And every day researchers from throughout the Health Science Center are contributing in meaningful ways to assure our active duty soldiers and returning veterans are receiving the care and attention they deserve.
None of the changes that have occurred throughout the Health Science Center, nor the net effects of these changes, have happened by accident. They have been a result of support by our state legislature, the oversight of the members of our Board of Regents and guidance of A&M System officials. But most critical, these changes and accompanying outcomes have been the result of the enthusiasm, unwavering dedication, and innovative minds of our faculty, staff, students and administrators throughout our university.
In 2006, I stood on this stage and stated on behalf of all of us, that we would dedicate the full measure of our resources and abilities to advancing the knowledge and technologies of our professions, and to bringing Texans the finest in health education, promotion and care. Now in 2008, I am standing on this stage yet again...knowing that because of our work, people's lives are truly being changed-across our state, around the nation and throughout the world. I told you in 2006, and will tell you again, we are going to continue to grow and change. None of which will be easy, but hopefully all of which will be exhilarating.
Our health science center, like any responsible state institution, devotes a fair amount of time and energy to risk management - being mindful of potential risks and seeking ways to mitigate them. However, at the HSC, we call the process that we follow not enterprise risk management BUT "Enterprise Risk and Opportunity Management" - because while we will always have to be mindful of the potholes, it is concern that we not miss the tremendous array of opportunities that regularly face us which is one of our greatest challenges...opportunities to serve, to educate, to discover...and we embrace those opportunities on behalf of the health and well being of the state.
Today is about establishing blueprints and looking to the future. We may not fit in this venue by 2010, thus I may not be on this stage when we gather for our 2010 Convocation. But wherever we are, I am sure we will be celebrating significant growth and change, just as we are today.
ESTABLISHING A STRONG FOUNDATION
As with any construction project, first and foremost is the importance of the foundation upon which to build. We should all be proud of the excellent foundation that has been established over the past nine years since our inception.
Such a foundation can only be created through planning, commitment to the vision, and strong and supportive leadership. The Health Science Center has been very fortunate in the level of support and trust in us exhibited by our Board of Regents over the years.
BUILDING THE FUTURE
It is fitting that we begin this final segment of today's convocation - focusing on building the future - by hearing from the students who are our future and for whom we are building our programs and facilities...
Our faculty, staff and students are united by a belief that all people - regardless of geography, economics or culture - deserve the benefits of compassionate care, superior science and exceptional health education.
As an institution, we have built our vision and mission around this unifying belief. We recognize that we have the capacity to change people's lives each and every day. However, we also share the recognition that as care providers, educators, researchers, staff and students, such a mission and vision is daunting.
As you have seen today, we have certainly built a strong foundation upon which to achieve this vision. However, it takes more than a strong foundation to change the world and to address the health disparities of the disadvantaged and underserved...
As I consider our "Blueprint for the Future" I am mindful that our "house" will never be completed. We will continue to plan for the future as we execute construction already set in motion...continuing to cross significant thresholds all along the way.
On January 24, we will be crossing one of those significant threshold in our ongoing "construction project." Leaders from both Bryan and College Station came to us a few short years ago asking for our help in to address the growing nursing shortage in our community and throughout the state.
This is yet another example of a true community partnership - and one that I am particularly proud of.
With their support and a lot of hard work from countless individuals, I am happy to announce today - for the first time publicly - the creation of the Health Science Center College of Nursing.
I would also like to ask the faculty and staff with us today who have already joined the Health Science Center in faith and anticipation of our College of Nursing to stand to be recognized and to be officially welcomed into the Health Science Center.
Chancellor and Regent Jones - as I told you earlier today, for the sanity of my staff, I certainly hope you don't expect us to deliver new colleges and campuses every year...though I must admit 2008 is already looking to be very eventful!
We started the day by unveiling the renderings of the first two buildings on our new campus.
As I stated earlier, countless individuals from the Health Science Center, the A&M System, community partners and the City of Bryan have spent many hours over the last several months shaping a vision for our new campus.
Before I unveil the first public glimpse of our Health Science Center-Bryan Campus Master Plan, I would like to ask all the members of the design team - representing Broaddus & Associates, FKP Architects, and EDAW to please stand to be recognized. They truly have been a delight to work with and have worked long hours to get us to today.
Now, I think it is only fitting that we close this year's convocation "Blueprint for the Future" with one final look of what the future holds.
Just as we have a vision statement for our institution, so too do we have a vision statement for our campus:
"The new Texas A&M Health Science Center campus will be a Campus in the Forest - a pleasant...peaceful...comfortable place...that inspires learning and healing.
The campus will portray an image of technology...yet preserve the natural environment...promoting a friendly...safe setting that encourages thoughtfulness and investigation.
It will reflect the Health Science Center commitment to 'Bringing Learning to Life' with synergy...energy...and momentum."
Thank you all for sharing this special day with us and for supporting the vision and mission of the Health Science Center. We hope you join us for our next Convocation in 2010!