To the students, faculty, and staff of Faulkner University,
We find ourselves in the midst of a time of unparalleled uncertainty, conflict, and confusion. In many ways, it feels like we are at war. Unlike other times of war, our adversary is not a maniacal dictator or terrorist regime. Today, we come to battle with two different opponents.
The first antagonist is the invisible nemesis, COVID-19. The virus has taken the lives of over 114,000 American citizens. Moreover, this sinister sickness has destroyed our economy and divided us over political party, geographical residence, age, and race. It has embedded fear, anxiety, and despair throughout the nation.
Despite the devastation left by COVID-19, it pales in comparison to the threat of the second enemy. Like a virus, it invades the internal organs of heart and mind. It is a pandemic that traces its roots back to the beginning of time. It propels individuals to destroy rather than build, hate rather than love, resent rather than forgive, shout rather than listen, and take rather than give. This disease is growing at alarming proportions and has only one real antidote.
The enemy is me. The enemy is you. The enemy is us. The sovereign God calls for the enemy to die. He calls us to repent and die to ourselves. He asks us to become like Him and invites us to be a part of His army. His revolution commissions us to become builders, lovers, forgivers, listeners, and givers—to restore the world to what He intended from the beginning.
With great anticipation, I look forward to this fall semester unlike any other in my 35-year career in higher education. Certainly, I look forward to reconnecting with the student body. We love and miss you. However, my enthusiasm for the fall extends far deeper than remorse over our extended separation. I eagerly await the fall because of the mission.
I love our mission statement which boldly proclaims “every individual matters every day.” The Faulkner family has been disturbed, saddened, and even outraged by the injustices targeted towards our Black brothers and sisters. I endorse our values statement which uses profound words to describe our University community such as faith, truth, civil discourse, reconciliation, service, and respect. I love our vision statement which calls us to act on our mission borne out of our values. We aspire to lead, engage, and be transformed.
This is our moment! This is Faulkner University’s moment. We want to be a beacon for truth, justice, and equality. In the city where the civil rights movement was born, we still pursue Dr. King’s dream yet to be realized. We march on towards the “beloved community”.
We live in a world that has been plagued by two deadly viruses. One is viral and one is a systemic problem of hatred, selfishness, and bigotry. But our mission calls us to run towards the brokenness of humanity. We do not fight this war with guns or harsh words. We fight with love, compassion, and mercy. We learn to do good, seek justice (Isaiah 1:17).
This fall semester provides a poignant moment for us to come together as a University community to learn from each other, listen to one another, and inspire one another to be a part of the solution. Faulkner University provides a launching pad for future teachers, healthcare professionals, business leaders, attorneys, ministers, leaders in law enforcement and the criminal justice system, and a myriad of various professionals. You will walk the graduation stage equipped with the tools to make you competent in your chosen profession. More importantly, you will be prepared to make a difference and provide hope.
Respectfully and humbly,
Mike Williams, President