Steven O’Day recently completed his first official week as the 16th president of Austin College. O’Day met with the college’s board of trustees last week during its annual fall meeting. He and his wife Cecilia O’Day also completed the move into the president’s home on Grand Avenue.
As one of his first official presidential activities, O’Day wrote an email to faculty and staff thanking them for the support and welcome he and his wife have received. The couple was originally introduced to the campus in August.
“Over these last two months, I have been reviewing reports; speaking with members of the Board, faculty, staff, and students; and meeting with friends of the College to discover as much as possible about this very special place,” O’Day wrote. “What I see is an extraordinary community dedicated to transforming students so that they can transform the world. The Austin College mission, 168 years in the making, is my mission. Together, I have no doubt that we will launch Austin College into the future with confidence and strength.”
O’Day is the successor to Marjorie Hass, who served the college for eight years. O’Day comes to Austin College from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania, where he held the position of vice president for strategic initiatives and secretary of the college. Hass left in late June to assume the presidency of Rhodes College in Tennessee. That move was announced last December and the AC board immediately began work to find the next president of the college.
O’Day continued his message by acknowledging within the email the work that needed to be done.
“I see our path forward as one rich with opportunities but not without its challenges,” O’Day wrote. “I look forward to tackling those challenges, together, with an unshakable resolve and celebrating our successes for years to come.”
O’Day plans to interact with students at athletic events, performances and other special events around campus. His first opportunity to do that came Saturday during the college’s annual Great Day of Service event. O’Day and his wife worked alongside students volunteering within the Grayson County community.
O’Day wrote a message to students encouraging them to continue working hard.
“With the fall semester speeding along, I know you are working hard on your studies,” O’Day wrote. “Keep it going! While you are doing that, I will continue to study, too, and do whatever I can to make Austin College the very best it can be for years to come. This is a special place, and I look forward to working with all of you to see to it that Austin College continues as one of the nation’s truly great liberal arts colleges.”