Geneseo is motivating and mobilizing others to address the challenges that face our country and our world.

By President Denise A. Battles

Simply put, Geneseo is going through one of the most tumultuous times the College has faced in its nearly 150 years of existence. Thoughtful leadership of our beloved institution, however, does not rest on the shoulders of one individual — it takes a united community of deeply caring and committed individuals who share a sense of common purpose during hard times. During these difficult days, we have leaned on each other and worked hard to keep our college focused on its core mission of continuing to be one of the premier liberal arts institutions in the country. I have been privileged in my five years as president of SUNY Geneseo to work alongside talented and dedicated faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members who share that vision for our beloved university.

I recently had the opportunity to reflect on my personal growth as a leader during an interview with the Syracuse Post-Standard. I considered the ways in which my small-town upbringing and professional experiences around our country have influenced my leadership style. I knew early on that education was an endeavor that I found tremendously appealing, as I witnessed first-hand the transformative power of a college degree in students with backgrounds like mine.

Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch once said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” Higher education leadership became a field I felt passionate about as it has allowed me to help promote lifelong learning and personal development in our students, faculty, staff, alumni and others.

Leaders who find organizations that align with their values and passions are more likely to be successful than those who work to serve others. Geneseo’s values align with my own, and throughout this year, that vision for the institution is guiding the College’s leaders in how we move forward, not only with action, but also with empathy and compassion. All across the country, our alumni who learned those lessons of leadership are on the front lines motivating and mobilizing others to address the challenges that face our country and world.

In this issue of Scene, you will find stories about our faculty, students and alumni that are connected through the theme of leadership. The development of the critical thinking skills afforded by a liberal arts education is crucial to cultivating thoughtful and visionary leaders. The Geneseo community takes great pride in inspiring students to be socially responsible and globally aware citizens who are prepared for an enriched life and success in the world. Our alumni lead by example and serve as role models with inspiring stories of success, as do our students, faculty and staff.

In the words of John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”