Botzman Inaugurated 13th President

Arthur Dowell, Web Editor

Thomas Botzman, Ph.D., was met with celebration as he was formally inaugurated as the university’s 13th president Nov. 15.

The frigid weather is here, but a 13 member committee arranged a heart-warming inauguration for President Thomas Botzman Ph.D.

The committee has planned since April to ensure everything is right because members were out of practice: The last time the campus has seen the inauguration of a president was fifteen years ago.

Executive Assistant to the President Carol Fahnestock is a member who handled logistics, which include parking and ensuring that the right people were in the right location – right on time. She said the organization was similar to that required for commencements.

“The entire process was interesting and a lot of fun for me,” said Fahnestock. “I enjoyed contacting and talking to the other schools in the area and some of the Mercy institutions nationwide and see- ing what they did for the process.”

Director of Marketing Communications James Roberts, who has been a key part to the process since the beginning, worked with the marketing department to spread news about the festivities. He was behind the invitation process, reaching out to newspapers, making ads congratulating Botzman, and making sure there is a live stream of the ceremony on the school’s home website.

“I’ve been fortunate to be involved with every aspect of the inauguration.”

Though the members have been involved with major school events, none of them have helped plan an inauguration before.

Both Fahnestock and Roberts speak highly of people who have stepped up and helped make the entire week a success.

“I want to personally thank the dozens of people who took time out of their busy schedules and worked so hard on the project,” he said. “I can’t wait to pause and reflect back at all the work everyone did to make this event successful.”

Botzman was announced the13th president nearly a year ago. His position became official last July, and the campus community wanted to celebrate with a week long series of events Nov. 11-16.

One event, which was held in continuation of the annual Dr. Midori Yamanouchi Lecture Series, featured former child soldier Ishmael Beah.

Another event – a presidential cook-off – allowed students to begin sharing, and creating, the fruits of the campus community.

Campus Ministry also had the  chance to show service work projects in alignment with the charisms of the Sisters of Mercy.

Each of the colleges got to show something, too, with a presentation of scholarly work. Students and faculty from Arts and Sciences, Health Sciences, Professional Studies and Social Sciences presented their projects.

The programs were designed to allow the campus community to come together and work as a unit.

Botzman loves cooking, so when the committee became aware of this, members reached out to Father Leo Patalinghug who is the creator and host of Grace Before Meals, and – quite famously – the one who beat Bobby Flay on the competitive cooking show “Throw Down! With Bobby Flay.” Patalinghug held a free interactive presentation for all.

All this was in preparation big day: the formal inauguration of President Botzman. Hundreds of people registered in advance to attend both the liturgy and ceremony, which took place in the Lemmond Theatre.

“The ceremony was almost mirror to that of commencement,” said Fahnestock. “After talking with other schools, we said ‘why reinvent the wheel?’ It’s better to follow what’s already in place.”

The committee did not stop there. The MU community participated in a day of service in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity, Mercy Services and the Catherine McAuley House.