President Edington’s Remarks, Inauguration Address

President Edington’s Remarks, Inauguration Address

President Edington Remarks, Inauguration Address

Prepared Remarks

Thursday, March 14, 2024
11 a.m.
UDC Theater of the Arts

Good afternoon, and thank you for that most thoughtful introduction, Dr. Robinson. I am Maurice Edington, the 10th President of the University of the District of Columbia. And I am delighted to welcome you all to Firebird Nation.

I’d like to recognize DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, members of the DC Council, appointed and elected officials, and all of our visiting delegates and guests. I’d also like to recognize the members of our Board of Trustees, including Chairman Christopher Bell, our Executive Cabinet, Deans, Faculty Senate Chair Arlene King-Berry and faculty members, as well as our staff, students and alumni. And I’d like to recognize and thank UDC’s First Lady, my ever-supportive and charming wife, Tonya.

What an incredible honor it is to stand before you today to commemorate and celebrate this new chapter in UDC’s history.

Today is undoubtedly a day of significance for the University. And, if I may, it is also a day rich with significance for me, both professionally and personally. I am filled with humility and gratitude today. Humility that I have been chosen to guide this storied institution toward the future. And gratitude for all the mentors whose faith in me led me here. To this moment.

People like my brother Alfonso, who insulated me as a child from the crime-filled streets of my California neighborhood. Who created a “womb” for me so that I could grow and develop in a safe environment.

People like my cousins James and Frank, who stepped in to fill the void when my dad wasn’t around. Who coached my football and basketball games and taught me the value of an education. Who offered me work opportunities in construction, even letting me paint some walls when I was downright horrible at it.

People like Dr. Princilla Evans, who offered me a lifeline when I didn’t have the funds to stay at Fisk University. Who taught me the joys of research. Who led me to pursue a Ph.D. Who inspired me to become a teacher.

People like Dr. Larry Robinson, who took me under his wing when I was an unseasoned, 28-year-old assistant professor at FAMU. Who modeled what grace under pressure looks like. Who taught me how to foster collaboration and teamwork. Who taught me how to lead.

Each of these individuals believed in me. They saw things in me before I saw them. And they offered me opportunities to grow and thrive.

Each of them was my teacher. Because education, as we know, isn’t something that happens only in the vacuum of a classroom. It’s not limited to textbooks and lab reports and final exams.

It’s an ongoing investment in the well-being of others. Teachers are all around us, supporting our personal evolution from the day we start to crawl through the day we get our first job through the day we start a family and the many decades that follow. Education isn’t just about transforming minds – it’s about transforming lives.

That’s what motivates me each and every day. To serve through education. To personally invest in others, the way my mentors invested in my success and well-being.

Since becoming a faculty member some 25 years ago, I’ve been on a mission to offer my students the same level of support, the same level of intellectual stimulation, the same types of opportunities that my mentors offered me.

They fostered in me a mission mindset. To lift up my students. To give them the tools to help transform their lives. To recognize their talents even before they see them.

This is my mission at the University of the District of Columbia, which I am proud to call my new home. This University has so much to offer. An incredible student body. Devoted faculty members. A top-notch staff.

UDC is the #14 public HBCU in the country. We’re an in-demand research destination for funding agencies, from NASA to the U.S. Army. We have nationally recognized programs in law, computer engineering, and business. Our graduates go on to thriving careers in nursing, architecture, cybersecurity, education and the arts. And we regularly serve our community, fighting food insecurity and mentoring students at local schools.

And that’s just the beginning.

We have many bold goals ahead of us: Becoming a world-class flagship university for the nation’s capital. A national model for urban student success. A workforce and economic mobility engine for the District. A research and innovation hub that addresses the District’s critical needs. A University that unites all its stakeholders in support of a shared vision, One UDC.

And we’re going to get there. Not just because we have a new, comprehensive strategic plan. But because we are driven. I am not the only individual at this University with a mission mindset; many of us are inspired by a similar call to serve through education.

To my many teachers and mentors, I offer my most heartfelt gratitude. And though I would love to personally thank each of you this morning, I’m pretty sure the folks backstage would have to cue the Oscars wrap-it-up music.

To the Office of the Mayor and our DC Councilmembers, thank you for your steadfast support and continued commitment to the advancement of this institution.

To all of my former students, I hope you feel the extent of my pride and elation at your many achievements. To my wife, Tonya, and my daughter, Gabriella, thank you for your continued love and support.

To my UDC family, thank you for welcoming me with open arms. It is my utmost honor to lead you as we forge head. I look forward to working together as we realize our full potential. Together, as One UDC, we will move boldly forward, on a mission to transform lives.

Thank you.

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