P. O. Box 159
Kolonia, Pohnpei 96941
Federated States of Micronesia
Phone: (691) 320-2480 Fax: (691) 320-2479 E-Mail:

Confronting Challenges…Creating Our Future: President Daisy Delivers His Investiture Address

Good afternoon.

I wish to acknowledge and honor the many dignitaries and invited guests, including: the President; Vice President; Speaker; the Governors of the States; members of the FSM Congress; Secretary of the Department of Education; members of the Cabinet; members of the legislative bodies of the states and municipal governments; traditional leaders of the states; members of the Diplomatic Corps, and friends of the college.

It is with great respect that I welcome members of the college community with us today including: the Chairman and members of the Board of Regents; administrators, faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents and family members. Welcome.

Thank you for attending this investiture ceremony and joining us here today. Please join me in thanking the members of the committee who planned today’s ceremony. Would you please stand and be recognized. Thank you. I am grateful for their efforts to ensure this is a special and memorable event for all of us.

Today, I am both humbled and proud to join this learning community. Becoming a member of the College of Micronesia and to serve you as its president represents for me the pinnacle of a 34 year journey as an educator.

This convergence of pathways which bring us together this day was long and organic in its making. From my earliest memories and throughout my early adult life, I remember clearly and fondly the importance of education emphasized by my parents.

The influence they had on my life and the great fortune I had to have teachers who inspired life-long learning is remarkable, and remains with me today. My parents and the family environment they cultivated… fostered, supported and encouraged learning, hard work, character, integrity, persistence, and dreaming.

My mother and father always wanted each of their children, myself and my two brothers to always do what we wanted to do, to pursue our dream, and then be the very best we could be.

I confess that as a young boy, I did not dream of growing up to become a college president. Rather, my dream, my aspiration was to become a teacher. So, many years later, here I stand a teacher, a teacher first. A teacher, I might add, who has been most fortunate to have had extraordinary experiences, which have prepared me to assume this important responsibility now, and to join you at this significant cross road in the life of this special college.

As the first person in my family to graduate from college, I have experienced first-hand the life transforming and empowering impact of a college education. Education has the power to change lives exponentially. The impact of THIS college reaches not only to the students we serve, but to their families, to their communities, and to the country. An educated citizenry impacts and enriches the economy, politics, art and culture, and is at the core of its global presence. Its impact reaches beyond the quantifiable and elevates the collective intellect, heart, spirit and soul of a nation.

Being here with you, I am cognizant that both the challenges and opportunities that we face, the present and the future are inextricably linked to the past. So, it is appropriate for us to recognize, acknowledge and honor the past. It is right for us to remember those who came before us who shaped the present and are no longer with us. It is also right for us to remember and to thank those who shaped the present, and are with us still. Each of us, regardless of our position, yet because of our profound responsibility to this college and the students we serve, has a deep and abiding obligation to create its future.

It is heartwarming and reassuring for me to know that 3 of my predecessors as president are with us and continue to contribute to this learning community as members of the faculty. Paul Gallen, Sue Moses, and Spensin James, would you please stand and be recognized for you historic leadership and service to the college. Thank you.

As well, our recognition for dedicated leadership and service is extended to Ringlen P. Ringlen who, as Interim President provided astute and effective stewardship during this past year as the college engaged in the search for a new president. Ringlen, would you please stand and be recognized. Thank you.

It is a considerable blessing for me to have your institutional memories, experiences and perspectives to consult and inform my own.

It reminds me of a favorite story shared among college presidents…that of the departing president who left two envelopes for his successor along with these instructions: “When faced with your initial crisis, open the first envelope. When faced with the next crisis, open the second envelope.” When that first crisis erupted, the then current president opened the first envelope and read with relief the advice, “Blame me!” Much later, when the second crisis occurred, the president remembered the second envelope. He pulled it from his desk drawer, promptly opened it, and read the advice, “Prepare two envelopes.”

I wish to extend my special thanks to the Board of Regents, administrators, faculty, and staff for their dedicated service to the college. It is with a great sense of pride and optimism that I look forward to working with you to build a secure future for our college. I appreciate your trust and confidence in me as president and for your embracing me as part of this community.

To our government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, community and business leaders, thank you for your long standing support for the important and challenging work in which this college is engaged. I look forward to working with you as we all seek to strengthen the college, ensure greater collaboration, establish strong partnerships, and meet the higher learning needs of its students and citizens. I hope you will embrace me as well, as I visit you, meet with you, as we come to know one another better, and as I seek your further engagement, your wise counsel and your continued support in service to the college.

The indispensable work of this college, grounded in its mission is compelling. It strongly resonates with me. It is in fact what first drew me to you. It has guided the college well, and serves as its compass, keeping it on course, even when the charted course is difficult to navigate.

From accreditation, finances, communication, college readiness by students, geographic expanse, persistence to graduation; the challenges are many, the challenges are significant, the challenges are daunting, yet the challenges are NOT insurmountable.

In this critical time and defining moment in the life of this college, please know that:

Our college is not alone in facing significantly reduced financial resources; Our college is not alone in facing reduced student enrollment; Our college is not alone in facing ever widening student achievement gaps; Our college is not alone in facing the ever growing technology divide; Our college is not alone in facing the ever creeping temptation to be all things to all people; Our college is not alone in facing its own relevance in an unpredictable economy and related development of a viable workforce;

And certainly, our college is not alone in facing significant threats and competition from for-profit and on-line colleges across the global higher education landscape.

These challenges, large and small, known and yet to be known, immediate and emerging are critical to our building a secure future. Successfully confronting them will require the very best of each of us working TOGETHER to marshal all of our, individual and collective intellectual and human capital and resources.

Only TOGETHER, and by that I mean everyone gathered here today, and members of our community dispersed across the country, will we be successful.

Each of us can and must be meaningfully engaged in this journey to confront challenges and create our future. Be assured that while this will not be a short or easy journey, it is ONE journey worth taking, and we will emerge stronger on the other side, creating a legacy for which we can be proud for generations to come.

It is in fact the mission, the mission as compass which allows us self-determination to face the challenges, to confront these challenges, and to chart our own course… to create our future.

There will always be challenges, expected and unexpected. The strength of our resolve is in HOW we anticipate them, HOW we plan for them, HOW we face them, and most importantly, HOW we confront them. The significant challenges we face, can break us if we fail to act.

Together, we will not only face these challenges, we will successfully confront them and create our future, one that will not only endure, but one that will thrive.

These challenges are our stepping stones to greatness.

Today’s investiture has far more significance than the symbolic transfer of leadership to a new president, it is an opportunity for the members of our learning community to come together as one, and to reaffirm our commitment to teaching and learning, to reaffirm our commitment to research and scholarship, to reaffirm our commitment to the mission, and to reaffirm our commitment to our core values.

The mission characterizes the college as “Historically diverse, uniquely Micronesian and globally connected, the College of Micronesia-FSM is a continuously improving and student centered institute of higher education. The college is committed to assisting in the development of the Federated States of Micronesia by providing academic, career and technical educational opportunities for student learning.”

The College of Micronesia-FSM plays a critical and central role in the life of our nation. Of course, we are the institution that prepares some of our best talent for leadership and productive lives. But the college is also the repository of the dreams that developed this nation, dreams that I believe have as much relevance today as they did 50-plus years ago when this nation’s forefathers envisioned a future for their people, one of self-governance.

The core idea that forms the Federated States of Micronesia is that islanders of different cultures, languages and traditions can find common ground. This nation is founded on the belief that its citizens can ensure a better future for themselves and their children by working together across linguistic and cultural divides.

Most of our students are too young to remember that there was a time, beginning in the 1950s and continuing into the mid-1970s, when the leaders of what we call “Micronesia” believed that there could be a single oceanic nation ranging from the Marshall Islands in the East through the Central Carolines to Palau and Yap in the West.

History took a different course, and the Marshall Islands and Palau went their own way. But in the FSM, our leaders held firm to the belief that there is strength in unity. And with the exception of the national government, our college is the one FSM institution that is built on the belief that we can be better and stronger because of our diversity.

Let us be mindful then, that the things that bind us together are far stronger than the things that divide us.

THIS college binds us together. The mission to which, we have reaffirmed our commitment will serve as our compass, our guide in everything we do, and will inform our decision-making process as we move forward. No doubt there will be both joyful and painful decisions to be made. As we join together to celebrate our achievements, in our time of joy, let us also join together to support and bolster each other in our time of need, and in our time of pain.

In both cases, let there be no doubt, we will NOT fail to act.

The core values of: learner-centeredness; professional behavior; innovation; honesty and ethical behavior; commitment and hard work; teamwork; and accountability, to which we have reaffirmed our commitment, define who we are as an institution of higher learning, for ourselves and our students.

I embrace these core values of the college as they in part reflect my own and represent my promise to you as a person, as an educator, and as president.


We are learner centered, and as a learning community, and as a community of learners let us acknowledge as Eileen Moran Brown, the founder of Cambridge College is often quoted that: “Each of us has something to teach and something to learn.” It is my hope that each of us and especially our students avail themselves of every opportunity to teach and to learn.

Professional behavior:

As members of this learning community we respect one another, trust one another, listen to one another, communicate with one another, and understand that we are ‘good will’ ambassadors for our college and our students.


The times in which we find ourselves necessitate creativity and innovation. We will take tactical and strategic steps to grow the college, programs, reputation and brand, including but not limited to the development of programs that fit the 21st century, broadening learning/hybrid delivery models, improving and broadening services to meet the range of students served by the college. We innovate to grow not shrink, we innovate with our emphasis on quality, not just efficiencies.

As Dr. Steven Ender, President of Grand Rapids Community College said on the occasion of his investiture, you are asked to, and I quote “Dream more, learn more, do more, become more.”

Honesty and Ethical Behavior:

We will conduct ourselves with honor and integrity, and pledge truthful engagement with the community through effective communication, the policies that guide us, and the practices in which we engage.

Commitment and Hard Work:

What we will achieve will require commitment and hard work. Each of you is asked to bring your talents, your skills, your knowledge, your ideas, and your resources and to share responsibility as architects of the college's future. In this call to action please ask yourself: What can I do? How can I make a difference in the life of the college? What will I contribute to help our students be successful? Every day, let us answer this call through our actions in fulfilling our responsibilities as members of this learning community.


We will succeed working together as a team. Eileen Moran Brown is right, when she reminds us that, and I quote: “None of us knows what all of us know.” It will take all of us, at our best, in concert to succeed. We are simply too good and our mission is too important to fail.


Finally, we need to hold each other accountable, not only for the work with which we are charged, but for the well being and success of the students with whom we are entrusted. We must plan and we must act! In his ground breaking work, “Results, The Key to Continuous School Improvement” Mike Schmoker researcher and author, successfully argues and I quote: “What gets measured gets done.” We must continue to strengthen the college's culture of assessment and accountability. We have a responsibility to internal and external stakeholders to, demonstrate that we are successful, that we are making progress and are improving, and that our students are learning and are successful. So let us actively engage as an institution in a continuous process of inquiry, reflection and self-assessment. We should fully and completely embrace accreditation as a framework for ongoing self assessment and improvement. Affirmation from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, (WASC) independently and objectively demonstrates that we not only meet high standards and provide quality higher education for our students, but that we continuously strive to become better.

We must ensure meaningful, relevant academic and workforce preparation and employability for our students.

We will be analytical in our development of programs to ensure the right investment is made, relying on empirical data to guide the allocation of precious resources.

Collectively, our core values become our promise to our students who are the focus of our priorities, the focus of our resources, and the focus of our future. They are the reason for our being and we must always be stewards of student needs and advocates for their success.

These things we will do because it is right and necessary to ensure the promise of our mission is realized.

Together, as we look forward from this precipice, as we hold steadfastly to our compass and begin this odyssey to confront our challenges and create our future, let us begin to chart our course. Let us be strong and thoughtful. Let us be informed and forthright. Let us be open-minded and respectful. Let us be nimble and responsive. Let us be forward thinking and compassionate. Let us be cautious and optimistic. Let us be innovative and bold.

Together, let us craft, define and articulate our aspirations. To this end, I am reminded of a quote by George Bernard Shaw, Irish literary critic, playwright, and 1925 Nobel Prize recipient for Literature, which Senator Robert F. Kennedy later paraphrased and immortalized.

And I quote: “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’’’

This important journey upon which we now embark will be perpetual. On this journey, let us confront our challenges and in all things, let us create our future. In all things, let us aspire. In all things, let us dream. In all things, let us choose.

And in choosing, let us not choose just to be good, rather in all things let us choose to be great. Thank you.