By Dr. Ward Ulmer, Interim President of Walden University
When I first came to Walden University 6 years ago as associate dean of the College of Management and Technology, I knew there was no better institution to join if I wanted to make a difference. I am honored and grateful to now be in this position, where I can continue to motivate, strengthen, and encourage every member of the Walden community.
Many of you have heard from me in the past month, so I won’t go into more detail about my professional background—but instead I’d like to take this opportunity to connect with you personally.
As I’ve shared, family, faith, and giving back to those in need define who I am. My wife and I met as college undergraduates, and we have four children. We’re involved with local nonprofit organizations in our community. My friends and neighbors often see me at church or social events and coaching my kids’ sports. I played baseball for 4 years at Charleston Southern University and was an NCAA umpire for 17 years, as I just couldn’t stay away from the game I love.
The ethics and values of my upbringing are what drew me to Walden. There’s a strong commitment and work ethic that embodies our entire Walden community, and it inspires me to get up and come to work each day. Now, it’s my mission to inspire others to get up and come to work, to deliver on the promises we make to our students, and to help our students and graduates go on to do great things with their education.
I want everyone—faculty, staff, students, and alumni—to be passionate about Walden like I am, and that passion and inspiration needs to happen from the inside out. It starts with me and flows through our university and out into the world reflecting our mission. We’ve been around for nearly 50 years, and I want to maintain that stability so Walden is around for another 50, delivering the best student experience, providing quality degree programs, and preparing our students to be successful graduates.
I have a vision for Walden going forward, but simply put, I want a Walden University that each of us is proud to call “my” university. As I start this next chapter, I promise to be transparent, to communicate openly, and to provide clarity about our way forward. I also know that you need to be heard—and I need to listen, because your ideas will help make our university better. (You should know that while everyone says I love to talk, I also excel at listening.)
I will always give it to you straight, and I hope you will do the same with me.