Monday, April 30, 2012

Closing part of a Chapter...

It is only fitting that I write this note of goodbye on this CCA blog.


It is midnight and I am supposed to be working on giving feedback on Sydney's dissertation (which I am doing by the way in case you read this Syd as I write this blog).

We had our farewell today. As with farewells, the evening was a reminder that my time at Purdue is coming to an end. It is also a time for me to take stock of all that for which I am grateful to Purdue.

As I saw so many colleagues who had come to say their goodbyes, I also was reminded that I will not be seeing many of them again, at least not in the same space as a colleague in the same institution. So I wanted to write this note to say thank you to so many of them.

My senior colleagues, Professor Stewart, Professor Webb, Howard Sypher, Glenn Sparks, Steve Wilson, Beverly Davenport Sypher, Patrice Buzzannell, Robin Clair, Felicia Roberts, Marifran Mattson, you taught me about excellence through your own work, through your commitment, and through the impact you made. Even as you did so many wonderful things with your scholarship, you did so with grace and elegance, and with an openness toward fostering others.

To Josh and Bart (and Matt and Jay if you read this), we grew in this journey together through the decade or at least through part of the decade. I will remember your steadfast friendship and the many moments of fun we have had together, the many meals and laughters we shared together, sharing so many  parts of our lives in the Department.

To Stacey, Jeong-Nam, Sam, you are what makes Purdue so wonderful and amazing. That you work so hard, you do such amazing work, and are such great resources for our students speak to the future of this place and to the tradition that is embodied in our Department/School! I have enjoyed every opportunity to be your colleague and friend, and I look forward to hearing about the many more amazing things that you will do in the years ahead.

As I feel so strongly about the amazing work that our staff do, I am reminded of so many wonderful resources of support which fulfill our work. Vicki Biggs, from the early days when you helped me mail out copies of manuscripts to journals to the many years we worked together in the Graduate Office, I have cherished your friendship and humor. Diana Cable, Donna Wireman, Darla Gordon, Teresa Berninger, and Patty Mason, thank you for always finding humor in dealing with my forgetfulness and in picking up after me.

To my many many students who came through Purdue, undergrad and grad, thank you for enriching my journey as a professor and for making this journey worthwhile every second of it. Your humor, kindness, curiosity, and desire to be excellent have inspired me. So many of you have always instilled me the faith in this journey! Your journeys in life continue to make me proud and cherish every bit of what I do. It is you that have made me want to come back to the classroom every semester, teaching course overloads in spite of my heavy schedule (100% in the Dean's Office and at least 25% on the grant).

To my advisees, Debalina Mookerjee, Wonjun Chung, Rebecca deSouza, Ambar Basu, Mahuya Pal, Induk Kim, Iccha Basnyat, Chuck Morris, Raven Pfister, Nadine Yehya, Lalatendu Acharya, Min Jiang, Shaunak Sastry, Sydney Dillard, Raihan Jamil, Ban Zhuo, Vicky Ortiz, Christine Spinetta, Rati Kumar, Christina Jones, Rahul Rastogi, Agaptus Anaele and Soumitro Sen, you each are amazing. Your hard work and intellect have inspired me to be your advisor. It is because of you that I have grown as a scholar. To all of you who have been my collaborators at Purdue, Graham Bodie, Hairong Feng, Abigail Borron, Rahul Mitra, R J Greene, I have so enjoyed working with each of you. We will continue to work together and I am thankful for your presence in my life at Purdue and in the many more years to come.

A special Thank you to Howard Sypher for your amazing leadership for most of the time that I have spent in the Department. You have opened up my eyes to the world outside, always offered support, offered vital lessons, fostered opportunities and conversations, and enabled my own leadership. As I embark on this journey of the next step as the Head of a Department, I will take with me many of the lessons that you have offered.

All of you together make the Brian Lamb School of Communication a leader. You bring alive the rich history and reputation of the Department!
Over the last couple of years, I had the opportunity to serve our College as an Associate Dean. That I believe in the value of our College is something that I have always been vocal about. That positioning Communication at the crossroads of the Humanities and Social Sciences is a move forward, I have always noted with vigor. This strong belief has only been strengthened in my time spent in the Dean's Office.

Just the sheer amount of lessons I learned about the many homes of scholarly excellence in our College have made these last two years amazing at Purdue. The expansive scope of liberal arts opens up amazing opportunities for collaboration and cross-pollination, stretching our horizons and fostering innovation.

Thank you to Dean Bud Weiser, and my colleagues JoAnn Miller, Joan Marshall, Barbara Dixon and Song No for the fabulous teamwork. Molly Madison, thank you for all your support which made my job seem like a breeze; and thank you to Jean Foust for so amazingly picking up so many of the complex tasks that are handled in this Office. Jodi Silotto and Lori Sparger, it was so much fun working on the many many exciting opportunities, and on innovating together.

To the many Department Heads that I have had the opportunity to work with, thank you for your leadership and vision. Thank you for teaching me the lessons in negotiating the balance between fostering disciplinary conversations and enabling collaborations that transcend these very boundaries of disciplines.

To the many faculty in the College of Liberal Arts who do such amazing work, your research offers many many lessons for the grand challenges of the world. The cross-cutting and innovative contributions you make to the study of societies, cultures, peoples, and values guide us through the most complex and difficult global challenges.

Thank you Purdue for everything!

Saying goodbye to all of you is hard because you have given so much of your friendship, affection, guidance and love in the many journeys of my life over the last eleven years. You have nurtured me and enabled my growth.

You taught me to find a voice, to put together my thoughts, to express them, to find my own self in my journey at Purdue, and to lead.

Go Boilermakers!

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