ALLIANCE, Ohio — A celebration more than a year in the making, Dr. Thomas J. Botzman was installed as the 13th president of Mount Union during a ceremony held in Peterson Field House on Friday, October 1.
Usually held as an inauguration a few months after a new president is hired, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed back the event to be an installation of Botzman 15 months after he took the helm in July of 2020.
“Traditionally, today’s event is called an inauguration and celebrated a few months after a new president’s arrival. Given that we’ve waited over a year, installation is perhaps the better term,” Botzman said in his address. “I thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to move through a most unusual and challenging time for this gently worn and not all that new university president.”
Botzman, a former Mount Union faculty member from 1989-2004 who was named the institution’s Great Teacher in 1998, stated that the decisions and actions of the University today will define how the surrounding communities view the impact of Mount Union graduates on their lives.
The Mount Union President also indicated that the unique circumstances surrounding the event gave him time to collect his thoughts for his address, as the University also embarks on its upcoming strategic plan.
“We also must develop today’s plans for our future,” Botzman said. “I am encouraged to hear so many thoughtful ideas from our faculty and staff colleagues, trustees, students, and our alumni and community friends. The University of Mount Union, on its 350th anniversary in 2396, will be built upon our ideas and actions today and in our future.”
During the ceremony, administration of the Oath of Office and Investiture of the Seal of Office was given by Board of Trustees Chairman Matthew Darrah ’84 and former Mount Union presidents Dr. Harold M. Kolenbrander, Dr. John L. Ewing, Jr., Dr. Richard F. Giese and Dr. Dick Merriman.
The Mount Union Concert Choir and brass quartet, alongside former Metropolitan Opera tenor Eduardo Valdes ’83, performed during the ceremony, and representatives of the campus and Alliance communities offered greetings. Several presidents from higher education institutions from across Ohio and Pennsylvania were also in attendance or provided comments during the event.