New President Lori White Begins Tenure With Open Ears

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President Lori White officially begins her tenure at DePauw University today, July 1. The day is being commemorated with a virtual gathering on the university’s YouTube channel at 4 p.m. EST where White plans to take comments from viewers. 

In her opening email to the University sent this morning, White acknowledged the challenges COVID-19 and social distancing present for the upcoming school year. 

However, she wrote, “I am undeterred; my work has begun in earnest and with great enthusiasm and I’m focused intently on listening and engaging with each of you in the coming weeks and months – virtually and in person (safely!).”

For now, White’s focus appears to be listening to the DePauw community. The University also asked for community feedback from students, alumni, and faculty across its social media platforms this week.

A conversation with President White

Back in March before COVID-19 ended in-person classes, The DePauw sat down for a conversation with President White guided by student comments. The advice collected from students and White’s responses were originally published in the March 11 print issue.

Cederick Chandler, Sophomore: “If there is one thing I had to tell the new president it would be to prioritize students.” 
White: “Students are the reason for my work. That’s what has kept me in this field for almost 40 years is the opportunity to, at the institutions where I work, to try to make those institutions work for all students, regardless of their background, regardless of their identity, regardless of their perspective, regardless of whatever it is that they bring to the institution. I want to make sure that the DePauw is a special place for every single student.“
Kelly Garcia, Junior: “There are high expectations. People have definitely seen the previous president make some mistakes and there are definitely some places where there can be improvement and people are expecting that and they are going to hold her to it.” 
White: “Well, I am not here yet. And so when I get here, it will be great for me to understand a little bit more about what students are concerned about and work with you all and the rest of the community together to see how we can address them.”
Eduardo Garcia, Junior: “Be the authentic version of yourself. DePauw doesn’t appreciate fakeness. Authenticity is what will get people through.”  
White: “I would say that most people who know me know that I lead with my authentic self. That’s the only way that I know how to do this.”