TU inaugurates 5th president

Students, faculty, staff and Tiffin community members celebrated the installation of Tiffin University’s fifth president Friday during an inauguration.

Curtis B. Charles began serving as TU’s president in July. He follows Paul Marion, who had been TU’s president for 13 years.

“I am tremendously honored to serve this immaculate institution as its fifth president,” Charles said. “It is an institution that is strengthened through it’s history, innovation, expansion and opportunity”

Previously, Charles served as senior associate vice chancellor of institutional transformation at Fayetteville State University and director of the Center for Defense and Homeland Security.

“I am here as a humble servant,” Charles said. “It is by the grace of God and praise and guidance from my family, mentors and leaders. I am humbled by your support, sacrifices and encouragement on this day and every day and to share this moment and witness this milestone for TU and my life.”

Charles discussed continuing to support TU’s top focus – student success – and urged the faculty to provide continuing quality education for students on campus, online and abroad so they can build a better life for themselves and for their families.

Charles, one of seven children who grew up in Trinidad, believes in the importance of higher education. He has dug ditches and performed other manual labor to support his travel to the United States. He earned degrees from Howard University, massachusetts Institute of Technology and Morgan State University.

He said there are about 350 international students from 38 countries at TU this year.

“We committed to become a model international university of culture, innovation and entrepreneurship,” Charles said.

Having met with TU’s class of 1947 and reflecting on the past leadership, Charles said, “Even the early leaders of TU knew that education was and continues to be of the most powerful social and economical equalizer.”

“The success of our students compels TU to become a more diverse and welcoming campus,” Charles said. “Either on campus, online or abroad, (success) is about embracing adversity regardless of race, nationality or religious belief.”

He also spoke of a five-year strategic plan he and other TU cabinet members have been discussing to further incorporate dual enrollment with students in high school and having more internship opportunities for “meaningful, real-world work experience to prepare students for the future.”

“All strategies have actions to help develop students’ potential (and) to achieve their dreams,” Charles said.

“We have much to achieve, the world is waiting with high expectations to see and hear of our accomplishments,” he said. “Lets get started. It is a great day to be a dragon.”

Also speaking at Friday’s ceremony were two of Charles’ mentors: Marvin Carroll, president and CEO of Tec-Masters, Inc., and James Anderson, chancellor of Fayetteville State University.

“I do not see myself as a mentor,” Carroll said. “I look at myself and I have grown as a result of my relationship with Charles.”

Anderson said he will miss Charles and his family, but he knows he is handing Charles off to an institution where he will be able to instill his caring, love and wisdom.

“It is not about the presidency,” Anderson said. “It is about leading and transferring the vision into the organizational reality, and in doing so, you are only as good as the cabinet around you.”

Anderson said Charles thinks about where Tiffin needs to go, not where Tiffin is.

Other individuals who made remarks were Teresa Shafer, assistant vice president for academic affairs; Joseph Laumer, president of TU’s student government; Michael Herdlick, dean of students; Curtis Peterson, treasure of the alumni association board; Holly Stacy, president of Seneca County commissioners; state Rep. Bill Reineke Jr., R-Tiffin; Meil Lynch, deputy district director of the office of U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana; and Anne Longsworth Orr, northwest Ohio regional representative of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Tiffin City Mayor Aaron Montz read a proclamation making Oct. 16 Curtis B. Charles Day for the Tiffin University campus and the city.