Inauguration of the Seventh President of Medaille College

The Board of Trustees of Medaille College Present
The Inauguration of Dr. Kenneth M. Macur as the Seventh President of Medaille College.

Medaille College students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and friends came together on November 5, 2015, for the inauguration of President Dr. Kenneth M. Macur. The gala event, which officially welcomed the seventh president of Medaille, was held at the College’s Events Arena. A reception followed at the Kevin I. Sullivan Campus Center.

The inauguration ceremony featured representatives from the Medaille community, Western New York’s other institutions of higher education, and local and state government. In addition to the assembled guests, the ceremony was followed in Buffalo and beyond via Medaille’s TwitterFacebook and Instagram accounts.

Thank you to the entire Medaille community for making Dr. Macur’s inauguration such a memorable event!

About Kenneth M. Macur, Ph.D.

Dr. Kenneth M. Macur Inauguration Speech

Inauguration Photo Album

Video: Watch the Inauguration


Kenneth M. Macur, Ph.D.,

“We are here to educate and develop, challenge and support each other. While many might think that this refers only to the student body, at Medaille College, this goal includes everyone — students, faculty, administrators and staff.”

Dr. Kenneth M. Macur became Medaille College’s seventh President on June 1, 2015. Throughout his three-decade career, his leadership and vision have resulted in academic and financial achievement, as well as an array of accomplishments. 

In his previous role as Provost and Dean of Bethany College in Kansas, Dr. Macur guided admissions and financial aid, academic affairs, student development, athletic affairs, spiritual development, the library, and the office of the registrar. Under his leadership, Bethany saw an 8.5 percent increase in annual enrollment growth. In addition, Dr. Macur helped the College achieve its highest overall student retention in 10 years, steered the design of a new general education curriculum, developed campus-wide student development programs, partnered with industry to create new academic programs, and led the construction of a new residence hall. He also secured some of the largest gifts in the College’s history, including gifts from venture philanthropists. 

Prior to his time at Bethany College, Dr. Macur was Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Online Learning at Edgewood College in Wisconsin. He was responsible for the ongoing management and supervision of all academic operations, enrollment management, faculty and academic staff contract management, academic advising, and student development services. Dr. Macur also directed strategic planning and operational support for the deans of several schools at the College.

Throughout his career, Dr. Macur has been on the forefront of advances in learning and technology. In 2000, he received the Wisconsin Institute of CPAs (WICPA) award for the innovative use of technology. He has also implemented several ePortfolio systems.

As the sole proprietor and chief executive officer of a strategic management and technology consulting firm, Dr. Macur led the design and implementation of the Wisconsin Statewide Campaign Finance Information System. He also served as consulting manager at Virchow, Krause & Company, LLP in Wisconsin.

Dedicated to professional and community service, Dr. Macur has provided leadership to a variety of college, business and community boards. He has won numerous awards for research, written for a variety of professional and academic journals, and is an accomplished lecturer and presenter.

Dr. Macur has a B.S. in accountancy, an MBA in finance and a Ph.D. in accountancy, all from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. In addition, he is a licensed CPA (Wisconsin).

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Dr. Kenneth M. Macur Inauguration Speech
November 5, 2015


Trustees, faculty, staff, students, colleagues, family, friends and honored guests, thank you for being here today. It is truly an honor to stand here with you.


Specifically, to Chuck Moran and the Medaille College Board of Trustees, thank you for the confidence you’ve shown in asking me to serve Medaille College as your president. I am humbled by your belief in me and strengthened by your support for me.


I want to also recognize the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. There are an unknowable number of decisions and actions that have resulted in all of us being here on this day, at this time and in this place. One of the most significant has to be their work in founding the College and having the courage to set her on her own path when the time was right.


Thank you to the faculty, staff, students and alumni for the welcome you have extended to me and my family. The neighborliness that you have given so generously is incredible. While it has been less than five months, I feel like I have known so many of you for much of my life.


Thank you to the other colleges and universities that have sent representatives and good wishes to us on this day. Each of us is like a person — maybe siblings? —similar to each other in ways, and different enough that we stand out. [We are] meeting the needs of our students in ways that the others can’t. Each of us fills a unique space in this community that no one else can fill. We need each other. And the region needs all of us. We need each other to be successful, because the synergy of our individual successes is collective success of extraordinary magnitude. It is very impressive that when we gather, we are implicitly and explicitly asking, “How can I help you?” Thank you for your support.


I want to acknowledge my family members who have made the trek from Glenview, Illinois, to be with us today: my mom Ann, my sister Madelynn and her husband Rich, and my brother Mark. My dad died a little more than 10 years ago. I have felt his presence several times during his absence and this is definitely one of them.


Lastly, and most importantly, I need to thank Marlena and Marta because you are the best daughters in the whole wide world. And of course, Franziska. More than any other person, you are the reason I am here. You are my rock.


Today is not a celebration about a new president. It is certainly not about me. It is a celebration of Medaille College — her amazing past and the beginning of her next chapter.


When I woke up this morning and completely rewrote these remarks (for the ten-thousandth time), I began with my morning prayers of gratitude:


  • For the day, because in coming, it means that God has important work for me to do.
  • And even though I’m really nervous … thank you for opportunity to write these comments and to address so many wonderful people.
  • For my family, because they are a blessing from God that is beyond any riches possible.
  • And for you (the faculty, staff, students and alumni) because of the important work God has given us and for your talents and your enthusiasm — the blessings with which we will accomplish that work.


Did you know that the word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek word entheos, meaning “inspiration that comes from the God within us.” Divine inspiration … enthusiasm.


It is a great day to be a Maverick!


Speaking of the Greeks, the philosopher Plato taught us this: “Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” So do me a favor. Give me 15 minutes and then let me know how I did.


To carry on a very long-standing — which for me means three-month old — tradition at Medaille College, here is today’s question of the day. Some will, no doubt feel that this one is way overused. Oh well … here we go. What would you do, if you knew you would not fail? Only for today, we’ll tweak it just a bit.


What should we do (Medaille College), if we know we will not fail?


We do live in challenging times. “Things are more like they are now than they’ve ever been before.” That comes from Dwight Eisenhower.


The industry that is higher education has been under pressure for quite some time. The liberal arts are routinely bashed in the press. With the explosion of the for-profits, we needed to learn how to compete and operate differently. With big macro-economic swings and declining demographics, schools around the country face enormous pressures. The doom-sayers are all around us with further dire predictions. Very few people don’t understand the sub-message when they hear “Sweet Briar College.”


In the movie Apollo 13, there is a famous line that “failure is not an option.” I get that message for that scenario. But sadly, failure is an option. However, if you quit then failure is permanent. If you don’t quit, it’s just a setback.


In getting to know the College, I went through many historical documents. I was particularly captured by the remarks of Sr. Mary Lawrence (a.k.a., Sr. Alice Huber), the last president of Mount Saint Joseph College and the first president of Medaille College in 1968. The Mount Saint Joseph College community was at a really significant tipping point.


In addressing the student body and explaining the “Change in Charter — Change in Name,” Sr. Alice stated, “Obviously, Mount Saint Joseph College, with its long history, was no longer filling the need of the times. It was necessary that we re-examine what we were doing [and] why we were doing.”


She also stated that “we must be open to new ideas, because reality itself is always developing, growing, changing.”


1968 … no longer a college just for the Sisters … just a setback … and remember that this was long before online.


Are we at another really significant tipping point? Yes and no. Over the last several weeks, you’ve been using words like “innovative,” “cutting-edge” and “leaders” to describe Medaille College. You’ve stood up with pride promoting our value to Buffalo, Rochester, Western New York and beyond.


When an organization commits to ideas like “innovation” and “leadership” it is always at a significant tipping point, like a competitive speed skater or a ski jumper leaning way out, accelerating, not holding back. Not afraid to fail.


Innovation and creativity are not one-time events, [or] things that you do once every five years with an updated strategic plan. To stick with the sports metaphor for just a while longer, these values require intense training in order to build muscle-memory. They have to be our long-term commitment.


What should we do if we know we will not fail?


First, because we know that we will not fail, it’s time to stop giving energy to the word “failure” and time to attract some success, because …


When you focus on problems, you’ll have more problems.

When you focus on possibilities, you’ll have more opportunities.


What are our possibilities? Tell me what you think: Let’s just be freaking amazing.


And by the way, wouldn’t that be a great mission statement?


The mission of Medaille College is to be freaking amazing!


The collective wisdom (right there in the center of our crest) of the Medaille community, focused in action, in service to the community (broadly defined), can accomplish anything. It’s here in our history. We have been and will be freaking amazing. Here are the steps.


Step one. Be a community.

Step two. Gather the collective wisdom of this community.

Step three. Focus the collective wisdom of this community in service to this community.


As a true community, not only will we operate more smoothly and respond more quickly, but when we’re in synch as a community, it will change the very nature of our dreams and aspirations.


When we have the confidence that we can come together as a community to achieve them, we will have the confidence to dream bigger dreams.


And in fulfilling those bigger dreams, we will be an institution that (in the 2006 words of Margaret Spelling) creates knowledge, contributes to economic prosperity and global competitiveness, and creates empowered citizens … [an institution that] performs amazing service.


And I don’t know about you, but I operate better when I dream bigger dreams and work like crazy to achieve them. Because if we set our goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, we will fail above everyone else’s success (James Cameron).


Let me offer these three simple rules:


If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.

If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it.

If you don’t step forward, you will always be in the same place.


Franziska and I enjoyed reading John Ortberg’s book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat. A synopsis is that in order to be amazing (in this case, reach your life’s fullest potential), you will have to step out of the comfortable and have faith that God and the universe will support that. You will have moments of weakness and moments of failure, but in the end, you’ll be amazing.


You know my vision: In seven to 10 years, we will be so amazing that we are worthy of a major transformational gift … $100,000,000. Thoughts become things, my friends. Thoughts become things. That number is on my vision board. I know that we can do this — be that amazing. That’s my definition of “amazing” and I challenge us to take it on.


That being said, we must collectively and individually change what we do every day. We must always be laser-focused on being competitive. Not with our colleagues, because as a Western New York system of higher ed, if we push each other to be amazing, then we will all succeed beyond our wildest dreams.


Footnote: I sent [around] an article a couple of weeks ago that pointed out that only 45 percent of people in this country go to college. There are a lot more students just waiting to be convinced of the value of higher education. Individually and collectively, that’s our job.


But first and foremost, we must compete with ourselves — the Medaille College of yesterday. Always challenging ourselves, always holding ourselves accountable to higher standards, always thinking about new and (maybe even) crazy ways to be amazing. Thomas Edison once said that if we did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.


Think about a Medaille College where students actually write drafts of papers without being asked. Amazing! I know … but we need out-of-the-box thinking! I know, don’t go getting all crazy on us.


But all joking aside, the interesting thing about homework is that it is service — dedicated service to yourself in order to move yourself to your fullest potential. This is the first noblest service possible.


What will we do, because we know that we will not fail?


How about 20-20-30-30 . . . by 2020 have 3,030 students. Hey!


If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.

If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it.

If you don’t step forward, you will always be in the same place.


Maybe we’ll “fail” and only hit 2,900. Maybe we’ll only get $20 million or $10 million.


As many of you know, we are in the process of creating our next strategic plan — figuring out how to be amazing. But for me, and what I do, day-in and day-out, it comes back to three things: community, wisdom and service.


Let’s continue to communicate and continue to build community. Let’s continue to tap into that wisdom. And by the way, I appreciate the times when we disagree. Because it means I can rely on your perspective when we do agree!


And let us always focus on the critical role we play in this community. This community is, first, Medaille College. We have to take care of this community first or we will never be prepared to serve this (broader) community.


We have everything we need, so let us be driven, committed, laser-focused.


It has been said that we are motivated by one of two things: desperation or inspiration. This one’s easy. We have no time or need for desperation. And you are inspiring. Divinely inspired … divinely inspiring.


We will be amazing — Medaille College — and I know we will not fail.


At the door, you have a little souvenir of the occasion. Your own vision board $100,000,000 reminder. Please pick one up (or two and you can give one to someone who’s not here). Put it where you can see it every day.


And tomorrow morning, let’s get to work on that. First priority. Our only strategy. Be amazing. Start that habit. One year from now, you will wish that you had started today.


It really is a GREAT day to be a Maverick.


Thank you. 

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