McAlexander installed as 25th president
April 16, 2010
Pledging to build on the strengths and accomplishments of LaGrange College’s past,
its new president vowed during his inauguration speech Friday to lead the institution
to a place of prominence.
Dan McAlexander was installed as the college’s 25th president Friday morning on
the plaza outside the Frank and Laura Lewis Library. Approximately 700 guests gathered
for a ceremony filled with pomp, music and history. The processional party
entered the plaza to the music of “Fanfare for the President,” written by Lee Johnson,
Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Music.
Delegates from colleges and universities around the country, as well as alumni
from classes as far back as 1938, joined representatives from the United Methodist
Church, the city of LaGrange, faculty, staff and students to welcome the new president.
William M. Hodges, chairman of the college’s board of trustees, formally installed
McAlexander, while the new first lady, Celeste Myall, held the Bible that once
belonged to Rufus W. Smith, who served as president from 1885 until 1915. Former
presidents Walter Y. Murphy and F. Stuart Gulley draped the presidential medallion
around the new chief’s neck.
In his installation speech, McAlexander paid homage to the rich past of the institution,
praising the work of his predecessors.
“(Under Stuart Gulley), there have been startling achievements that transformed
this college,” he said. “And in the years before that, under Presidents Murphy
and Hudson, they were similar achievements such as the acquisition of the Callaway
Campus and the painstaking cultivation of what later would become the transformative
$22 million Candler bequest.”
Building on those works, McAlexander said the board of trustees has been forming
a new strategic plan to take the college into the future.
“Vision 2020: From Promise to Prominence contains a number of initiatives…that
will serve as guideposts for our future,” he said. “Essentially, this plan is about
taking bold steps from a position of built strength. It is about focusing with
persistent discipline and incisive clarity on that at which we are already good,
honing these things into the distinctive hallmarks of an increasingly well recognized,
highly valued, ‘prominent,’ academic enterprise.”
Following the ceremony, the college hosted a picnic on the Residential Quadrangle
that featured music, a rock climbing wall and bungee bouncing.