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President’s Memo, August 7, 2018

One month in, I can confidently say there is no other place I would like to be. My hope is that you all feel the same. One of my challenges over the next months and years will be to make sure all of us – faculty, staff, students, alumni, and board – continue to feel immensely proud of this institution and work together to move us forward.

I’m not your traditional president.  I’m here to honor what my wonderful predecessors have done in the past, but I’m also here to help propel us into the future.  I can’t do that without working closely with all of you. I’ll remind you each day how lucky we are to be at this wonderful institution. 

I remain steadfastly committed to developing open communication and earning your trust. I want to build an environment where we can be honest with one another to share our successes and our challenges, our high times and our low times, our dreams and our hesitations. 

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to start my one-on-one meetings with the faculty and staff at NECO and hear your thoughts on your role, your advice to me, and your vision for the future. I’m inspired and excited by your energy and commitment. I've begun to visit our community health centers in our network and meet our clinical faculty in the field.  My goal is to meet with all our faculty and staff face-to-face to hear what you contribute, what advice you have to share, and how you would like to grow at this institution.

I also look forward to meeting with more students. I’ve been impressed with the students I’ve had the chance to talk with, including those in special programs like the Global Health Leadership Development program.  I look forward to spending a lot more time with students both inside and outside the classroom, learning more about what makes NECO such a special place.

At NECO, each of us contributes to our mission: “to change the way people see the world through optometric education, research, and service.” This captures the essence of who we are and the work we do.

Let’s all remember these words and find ways to support our mission. We can use it to guide our actions and determine the answers to the hard questions. I think it’s important for each of us to think about how we contribute to the mission each day.  What does it mean to you?  What have you done today to help advance this mission?  

Our actions and interactions at the College are also guided by our values.  Our core NECO values include relationships, collaboration, professionalism, excellence, diversity & inclusion, social responsibility, and legacy & innovation. I believe it is important for us to consider the values our College believes in and how we promote and uphold them each day. 

Together, each of us has an obligation to create an environment where every student, faculty member, and staff person feels welcome, valued, respected, and included. I challenge each of us, every day, to think about how we promote and uphold each one of these values with each other, with our students, and with the external community. I look forward to hearing more about how these fit into your daily lives at the College.  

Please feel free add your comments below and follow me on my new Instagram (@NECOPrez) and Twitter (@NECOPres) accounts.

All my best…

President Purcell
Dr. Howard Purcell was named the College’s 13th president in July of 2018. Prior to his appointment as President, Dr. Purcell served as the Senior Vice President, Customer Development for Essilor of America for ten years, Senior Director of Professional Affairs for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care for 13 years, and Deputy Dean of Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry. He also worked in private practice for eleven years.

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