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September 2, 2014

It was his 13th and final time opening the new academic year as president, and Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria had much to share.

During the annual opening day breakfast, held in a packed ECC cafeteria, the president looked back for a few moments, but spent a good deal of his address looking forward.

Dr. Mohler-Faria will step down at the end of this academic year, concluding nearly a quarter of a century of service to Bridgewater. As for accomplishments, he cited the increase in faculty in recent years, the ten new buildings that now dot the campus, and many initiatives that took wing during his presidency, much of which was spent under the cloud of a dismal economy.

“You are at the center of all that has happened here,” he told the gathered employees. “The question is how do we sustain that trajectory toward even higher levels of excellence?”

Saying this year would be the busiest for him of his presidency; Dr. Mohler-Faria outlined some areas of focus as the university prepared for the transition to a new administration. They included: a revision of the core curriculum, a realignment of the advising system, a revamping of the continuing education program, the developing of strategies pertaining to online learning, a space assessment, a talent-management strategy, the expansion into Cape Cod and an administrative reorganization.

The president said the world has changed in the years since he first took office, and outlined many challenges that will face his successor, such as demographic shifts, changes in student expectations and the growing role of technology on campuses and in society in general.

His final words concerned the need to be fearless, whether taking chances or facing failure.

 “Understand what’s possible,” the president said. “Bridgewater is where it is today because we’ve been bold.”

Chief strategy officer Bryan Baldwin introduced the president, recalling how when faced with the economic downturn of 2008, Dr. Mohler-Faria decided not to make cuts but to venture boldly forward.

“Bridgewater is so much better off because he, and then we, held the line,” he said.

Before bringing on the president, Mr. Baldwin said, “You cannot separate the man from the mission,” adding that the impact of Dr. Mohler-Faria’s leadership will be felt for some time to come. The president was then greeted by a standing ovation. (Story by John Winters, G ’11; photos by student Nicholas Allende, University News)

Watch this to see the all the campus construction projects, both ongoing and completed over summer.

Watch the president's speech. 

President Mohler-Faria delivers his address

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