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100 days

Dr. Timmons reflects on her first three months as president

Campus and Community

By Dr. Vianne Timmons

Mother Nature is in the transformation business.

She went from the dead of winter (at least here in Newfoundland and Labrador) on April 1, to the glory of early summer with lilacs and lupines . . all in just 100 days.

Today marks my 100th day on the job and as I have said so many times, my first days and weeks were not what I had anticipated, but I still think that I accomplished what I set out to do.

It’s been 100 days of listening and learning, and I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to help me in these early days.

New experiences

It’s been three months of new experiences.

Some were frustrating – moving across the country, buying a house, getting services hooked up can be challenging at best, and in a pandemic, wow, even more so. But with patience and smiles my family and I are settled in.

Some were amazing – driving a virtual ship in through the Narrows on the Marine Institute’s bridge simulator was a fantastic experience. And one that I had to tell my brother, Gary – who did safety training at MI – all about!

Dr. Timmons takes the controls of the Marine Institute’s bridge simulator.
Photo: Submitted

Some were harder – managing Senate virtually when I do not know all of my faculty colleagues has been a learning experience. I very much appreciate their patience as I work my way through that.

Some were exceptional – watching the students, faculty and staff adapt to the immediate problem of finishing the semester remotely. Since then, watching faculty and staff innovate and create in support of current and future students.

I am so proud of the work they’ve done, from their kitchen tables and basement offices, to develop initiatives and programs to help our students in the months to come.

Staying connected

Throughout the shutdown, I tried to stay connected with you – the university community – through video recordings.

I’ve touched on everything from Indigenization to Memorial Day to the beautification of campus. I hope these videos have allowed you to get to know me a little better.

At the National War Memorial, July 1.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Just like all of you, I’ve been connecting with people virtually – hundreds of people over the past 100 days, including supporters and friends of the university, and community, business and government leaders.

Over and over I have heard that Memorial holds a special place in the heart and soul of this province.

As restrictions have loosened, I’ve met some people face-to-face while practising social distancing.

And as I meet them, I find some are taller or shorter than expected. I didn’t even realize I had pre-conceived thoughts about someone’s height . . . but there you have it!

Hitting the road

With the move to level 2, next week I’m heading out across the province to do what I had originally planned: get acquainted with other Memorial campuses and locations, and get to know this beautiful province again.

If you see me in your community, please don’t hesitate to say hello.

Though the past 100 days have been challenging in their own way, they were also very rewarding. And based on what I’ve seen so far, I can’t wait to see what the next 100 days hold.

I’m looking forward to them with optimism and anticipation.

I hope you are, too.

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