Weekend with the President

This weekend marked President David Maxwell’s final remarks to parents attending the 2014 Parents and Families weekend.

Maxwell began the presentation by remarking that, “It’s going to be a weird and exciting year” He joked that, “I feel like I’m trying to write my own eulogy” when he is asked by student reporters about what his favorite experience has been over his 15 years at Drake.

He explains how “Outside of excellence, we (the Drake administration and community) take our mission statement seriously. We are considered one of the top 15 4 – year institutions”

In Maxwell’s view, the fact that Forbes has named Drake one of the fastest growing private institutions in past 5 years shows the great visibility that Drake is receiving.

He continues to explain the three things that defines the Drake community. First, the integration of liberal education and how the curriculum helps in preparing students for professions. Second, the educational outcome that results from the fact that, “students come as teens and leave as adults, which comes as a part of the maturing process.” Finally, the intentional focus on global skills that teach students how to communicate across cultural boundaries The Drake mission statement identifies the promises that a Drake education gives to it’s students.

President Maxwell was very proud of the fact that 97.8% of Drake’s 2013 graduates have found job placement already. In addition, 85% have had internship experience before they graduate.

This year’s first year class has the highest academic standing of any incoming class The retention rate (number of students who return after their first year to sophomore year) is 88.8%. This puts Drake in the top 10% for 4 year institutions. Maxwell gives credit to the “parallel rise of social media and (he hard work of) admissions.”

Maxwell closed his remarks by stating that “The hardest thing about retirement is knowing that I won’t be waking up every day to hang out with your kids”

Tonight I was honored to attend the SARDEL dinner, which is an opportunity for Honors students to discuss a book over dinner that is traditionally themes after the book at the President’s house. Tonight’s book was “Gilead” by Marylyn Robinson. This book was set in the 1950’s in a small fictional town in Iowa. Tonight’s meal included creamed peas, beef shoulder, mashed potatoes, gravy, and jello salad. The discussion revolved around spirituality, religion, and the representation of women in religion.

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