TGIF, Sorta

I had big plans at work today, and while I did tick off most of the items on my to-do list before heading home, the morning was a mess owing, first, to a mysterious email message from the federal government’s stimulus-funds tracking service (I blew an hour figuring out the message and then resolving the ultimately benign issue behind it), and, second, to the surprising announcement by College President Robert A. Oden, Jr., that he’s retiring at the end of the academic year:

Robert A. Oden Jr., 63, Carleton College president since 2002 and a leader of educational institutions for more than 20 years, has announced his retirement effective June 2010, the end of the current academic year.

“I’ve personally informed all Carleton Trustees to tell them of my plan to retire at the conclusion of the current academic year,” Oden said. “My wife, Teresa, and I have devoted a great many hours to considering this decision over recent months and reached the conclusion that the time to retire is this coming June. You have my pledge that my commitment to doing all I can for Carleton remains fully in place throughout the current academic year.”

A “presidential transition” is a process experienced (once or more than once) by every longterm employee of a college and university, of course, but this will be the first one that I’ll see up close. It should be a good learning experience for me. I have worked with Rob a bit on various grant projects, writing letters and such for his signature. Just last week, I thought of some good ways to make my writing sound more like his (for the purposes to grant letters, I mean), but I guess that’s not really a useful skill to hone anymore. Regardless, I found Rob to be an exceptionally careful thinker, an excellent planner, and (most importantly, maybe, for a grantwriter) an extremely good editor. I wish him and his wife well.

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