JCU students are thriving in the work of the future

The John Carroll University community will gather later this week — in person and virtually — and install me as the school’s 26th president.

My remarks will focus on our core business — preparing young women and men to confront the great challenges and opportunities of this century: climate, health, technology, energy, security, hunger, justice, equity.

The cost of a college education and uncertainty about the work of the future can lead many students and families to narrow their considerations to only the most obvious and direct path between a major and a secure future. Today I share the story of JCU graduate Meredith Whitney, a young program manager at Google, as a reminder that success comes as much from a core aptitude — a nimble and curious mind — as it does a discrete set of technical skills.

When it comes to describing the fertile world of tech giants and innovative start-ups emerging in key markets such as Chicago, Buffalo, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, Meredith offers some good advice: “Be prepared to work, to pivot from product to product, to rarely have the same day twice in a row. Learn to be comfortable with the nebulous world of inventors and idea people or become one.”

That guidance applies as well to the running of a university. We will all need to become far more nimble and responsive as we work to carry John Carroll toward a more prosperous and inspired future.