Dear Shark Colleagues and Students,
I am writing today with news that is very bittersweet. After two and a half years at Simmons, my family and I will be moving to Maryland to pursue a new opportunity. This was a very difficult decision and is one that we made after a lot of discussion and prayer. I truly believe in the work happening at Simmons. It has been an honor to be entrusted as a campus leader, and I have done my best to bring positive energy, optimism, forward thinking, and honest hope to our community.
To my team, and the future team in the new Division of Student Engagement, Success and Diversity, I thank you! When I arrived at Simmons, I asked you to trust me, believe in the process, and buy into the vision. I am so proud of your commitment to enhancing the student experience while navigating a global pandemic and institutional and organizational change. You work tirelessly to achieve a level of excellence that often requires long days, weekends, and evenings. I am grateful and humbled as we have responded to the voices of students, improved processes and systems, and ensured that our efforts support the academic mission of Simmons.
I believe in each of you and the “magic” that you will continue to bring to this institution. It is gratifying to know I am leaving a stronger Simmons, thanks to the amazing leadership of this beloved institution and the Division of Student Engagement, Success and Diversity. I have been blessed to have a talented and passionate senior leadership team and am honored to welcome new leaders as the Division emerges and continues the excellent work we have started.
To my faculty and academic colleagues, thank you for trusting me, for viewing me as a partner, and for collaborating with our team to support students. This work is often a labor of love, and I am inspired by your willingness to engage in solution-oriented initiatives that ensure a strong future for Simmons.
To our students, I believe in you, your passion, and your potential! I encourage each of you to continue to engage in Everyday Leadership that positively impacts individuals across the Simmons community and beyond. Please continue to lead with grace and humanity, to bring others to the table, and to share your experiences and talents in a way that honors the mission of John Simmons to create a more just world. As Michelle Obama shares, “use your voice thoughtfully in a way that widens the margins for whoever comes next.”
Lastly, thank you to my senior leadership colleagues, the Board of Trustees and President Wooten! Leading is never easy and leading through change takes grit, stamina, intelligence, patience, and collaboration. Thank you for modeling these qualities for me and others in the community. Your leadership and deep belief in the power of Simmons will continue to carry this institution forward.
Maya Angelou once said that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I hope my interactions with you have not only focused on the task at hand, but shown my concern for your humanity, my belief in your potential, and my hope for all the best the world has to offer you.
This journey, while not always easy, has been worth it every step of the way. I will continue to cheer you on from afar and will always carry the Simmons Shark spirit with me.
Renique Kersh, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Engagement, Success and Diversity