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Roudebush Hall
Roudebush Hall, home of Miami's administrative offices

Annual Address 2013

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David C. Hodge
September 3, 2013

Momentum

Introduction

Most of you probably know that I am a big fan of the book Good to Great. In this book, Jim Collins compares companies that are truly exceptional with those that are "merely" very good. As I have reflected on this past year, and look forward excitedly to this year, I have been thinking a lot about a part of this book that focuses on the concept of the flywheel. Collins writes:

"Picture a huge, heavy flywheel … Now imagine that your task is to get the flywheel turning as fast and long as possible. Pushing with great effort, you get the flywheel to inch forward. … You keep pushing, and the flywheel begins to move a bit faster. You keep pushing in a consistent direction. Three turns … five … ten … twenty … a hundred. Then at some point—breakthrough! The momentum of the thing kicks in in your favor … its own heavy weight working for you. You're pushing no harder than during the first rotation, but the flywheel goes faster and faster. Each turn of the flywheel builds upon work done earlier, compounding your investment of effort. … The huge disk flies forward with almost unstoppable momentum.

Now suppose someone came along and asked, 'What was the one big push that caused this thing to go so fast?' … Was it the first push? ... The hundredth? No! It was all of them added together in the overall accumulation of effort applied in a consistent direction (emphasis added). Some pushes may have been bigger than others, but any single heave—no matter how large—reflects a small fraction of the entire cumulative effect on the flywheel."

Everywhere I go on our campuses I am struck by the sense of momentum that Miami has going, a momentum like that described by Collins which is produced by the overall accumulation of effort applied in a consistent direction. Our common vision, our deep commitment, our hard work, and our spirit are building momentum and a better university. So I would like to take my time today to describe some of those "pushes," those activities and actions that stood out this past year and that we look forward to this year.

The Year Past

Last year certainly started out on a note of excitement as Paul Ryan, Class of 1992, was announced as the vice-presidential candidate for the Republican Party. The very first campaign rally involving Rep. Ryan was held on the Oxford campus. With very little notice, our staff and students created an exceptional event. Throughout the election cycle, it was most gratifying to see the positive attention that Miami received. The bookend to the Presidential campaign occurred when First Lady Michelle Obama visited campus three days before the election. Again, our staff and students outdid themselves in organizing an outstanding event.

The success of these events is a tribute to our staff and students who rallied (no pun intended) to the cause with very little notice. The political diversity of these events reflects well on our efforts to have our students engage alternative points of view. One of our newest efforts, the Janus Forum, was launched last spring. The Janus Forum is a donor-funded, student-run seminar that brings in individuals with sharply contrasting views on important topics. Each speaker makes a 25-minute presentation followed by an hour of questioning from the students. This past spring the students invited Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for President George W. Bush, and Ezra Klein, columnist for the Washington Post and Bloomberg to debate the question, "Is democracy in America working?" This fall the students have invited Bill Richardson, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, governor of New Mexico, U.S. energy secretary, and U.S. representative, and William Kristol, founder and editor of The Weekly Standard and panelist on FOX "News Sunday," to debate "America's Role in the World" on October 30. I most enthusiastically encourage you to attend.

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Locations
Luxembourg
West Chester
Middletown
Hamilton
Oxford
  • Luxembourg
    Luxembourg

    John E. Dolibois European Center, Luxembourg

    One of Miami's oldest continuous study abroad programs, the Miami University John E. Dolibois Center (MUDEC) in Luxembourg offers students the opportunity to enroll in Miami classes taught by European-based and Ohio-based Miami faculty. Students enjoy a unique combination of first-class academics, engagement in the local community, and various faculty-guided and independent travel opportunities.

    Contact and emergency information for the Luxembourg Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

    Château de Differdange
    1, Impasse du Château
    L-4524 Differdange
    Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
    luxembourg@MiamiOH.edu
    MiamiOH.edu/luxembourg

    217-222 MacMillan Hall
    531 E. Spring Street
    Oxford, Ohio 45056, USA

    Directions

    Main Operator: 011-352-582222-1
    Oxford-based Coordinator: 513-529-5050
    Emergency info: MiamiOH.edu/emergency

  • West Chester
    West Chester

    Voice of America Learning Center

    Located midway between Cincinnati and Dayton along I-75, the Voice of America Learning Center (VOALC) offers undergraduate and graduate courses and programs drawn from Miami's Regional and Oxford campuses. Home to Miami's MBA program, the Learning Center provides ready access to graduate programs for area educators and courses leading to the BIS degree for undergraduates.

    Contact and emergency information for the Voice of America Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

    7847 VOA Park Dr.
    (Corner of VOA Park Dr. and Cox Rd.)
    West Chester, OH 45069
     
    voalc@MiamiOH.edu
    MiamiOH.edu/voalc

    Printable Floor Plan
    Directions

    Main Operator: 513-895-8862
    (From Middletown) 513-217-8862
    Emergency info: regionals.MiamiOH.edu/emergency

  • Middletown
    Middletown

    Middletown Regional Campus

    Nestled on 141 acres near I-75, Miami University Middletown offers bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, and beginning coursework for most four-year degrees. Nearby Greentree Health Science Academy immerses Miami's nursing and health information technology students in the health care experience while taking classes.

    Contact and emergency information for the Middletown Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

     4200 N. University Blvd.
    Middletown, OH 45042
    regionalwebmaster@MiamiOH.edu
    regionals.MiamiOH.edu

    Printable Campus Map
    Directions

    Main Operator: 513-727-3200
    (Toll-free) 1-86-MIAMI-MID
    Office of Admission: 513-727-3216
    Campus Status Line: 513-727-3477
    Emergency info: regionals.MiamiOH.edu/emergency

  • Hamilton
    Hamilton

    Hamilton Regional Campus

    A compact, friendly, commuter campus, Miami Hamilton offers bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, and beginning coursework for most four-year degrees. Small class sizes, on-site child care, and flexible scheduling make Miami Hamilton attractive to students at all stages of life and career.

    Contact and emergency information for the Hamilton Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

    1601 University Blvd.
    Hamilton, OH 45011
    regionalwebmaster@MiamiOH.edu
    regionals.MiamiOH.edu

    Printable Campus Map
    Directions

    Main Operator: 513-785-3000
    Office of Admission: 513-785-3111
    Campus Status Line: 513-785-3077
    Emergency info: regionals.MiamiOH.edu/emergency

  • Oxford
    Oxford

    Miami University, Oxford Ohio

    Nationally recognized as one of the most outstanding undergraduate institutions, Miami University is a public university located in Oxford, Ohio. With a student body of 16,000, Miami effectively combines a wide range of strong academic programs with faculty who love to teach and the personal attention ordinarily found only at much smaller institutions.

    Contact and emergency information for the Oxford Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

    501 E. High St.
    Oxford, OH 45056

    Printable Campus Map
    Directions

    Main Operator: 513-529-1809
    Office of Admission: 513-529-2531
    Vine Hotline: 513-529-6400
    Emergency info: MiamiOH.edu/emergency