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March- Palikir, Pohnpei


March 08, 2004

To: All Regents, Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni,Community Patrons, and our Valued College Friends & Supporters

From: Dr. Michael Tatum, President

Subject: Update from the President's Office - No. 227


As I sit at my desk writing, my favorite recording artist, Andrea Bocelli is singing “Voglio Restarme Cosi” (I Want To Stay Like This).  The sky is bright blue, with wisps of white clouds framing the luxuriant jungle covered hills and mountains that border the National Campus against the backdrop of the lagoon and reef.  Certainly a million dollar view by any measure of the imagination.  And for this moment and the next couple of days it is mine . . .

For me, life has always been exciting, especially with all of its unpredictable twists and turns.  And for those of you who know me, my outlook is always optimistic.  It always has been and always will be.  Indeed, my Life’s Glass has always been more than half full.  I have been blessed.  However, I still can’t get out of my mind Dickens’ opening to a Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times . . .” 

Here I am, in the cradle of paradise, a place that I loved before even arriving and still love now.  God knows how much I love this place, and how I especially love the College of Micronesia-FSM and each of you – the students, staff, and faculty.  You are the people who make it such a choice and wonderful place to be.  Yet, I am soon to be a mere footnote, if that, as my contract comes to an end and I leave on the tail-end of the last seasonal gusts of Trade Winds.  Thus, my departure will be the “Best of Times” in that I will soon be reunited with members of my family that I haven’t seen in nearly two years, including two new and beautiful granddaughters.  However, it will also be the “Worst of Times” because of my love and passion for the College and having to leave behind further opportunities to share with each of you in the fulfillments of its Mission and all of the future events, challenges, victories, and successes I will be missing out on. 

And I will especially miss interacting with each of you.  I have never been in a place that I have felt so warmly welcome and at peace.  Certainly my Life’s Glass has been filled to overflowing while here in Pohnpei and the FSM and at the College.

So with changes on the horizon I write this, my final Update to you, keeping in mind that the gurus of success like Spencer Johnson & Ken Blanchard (Who Moved My Cheese?) say that “Change is Good.”  One thing for sure, we live in a world that is ever changing.  Welcoming and proactively promoting change is essential for the well-being of societies, individuals, and institutions like the College of Micronesia-FSM.  This is a perspective that has served to shape the College as we conducted our recent Self-Study and have heard the exit report from the visiting accreditation team.  It is also the perspective that has shaped our College from its inception.  And in an educational institution such as ours, change is inevitable due to new technologies, regulatory mandates, new instructional approaches and innovations, and the ever rising accreditation standards that challenge us to improve, always helping us to stretch in order to seek and implement higher standards as we move towards excellence.

“It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today.  No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.”    

                                                                                    -Isaac Asimov

With change attitude is everything.  As the visiting accreditation team leaves us, we are now faced with a number of changes that must take place as we implement the recommendations they have made in order for the College to remain in good standing with the commission and for us to maintain our accreditation status.  It can’t be any other way.  A major feature of both the educational and accreditation processes dictates that improvement is constant and continual through self-study and peer evaluation.  “Attitude determines your Altitude.” No institution ever “arrives” or gains perfection, and the quest for improvement never stops, ever, as we keep on rising to new heights as we meet new challenges . . .

The College of Micronesia-FSM is the “Gem” of the FSM and of our region.  The College is here to stay because of people like each of you.  I sincerely thank each of you for your caring, professionalism, and dedication as educators.  I also thank each of you for your friendship and support that you have manifest to me in so many ways during my tenure as president. – There will always be a place in my heart and mind and in my prayers for the College, Pohnpei and the FSM, and each of you.

Good-bye.  I hope that our paths cross again at sometime in the future, whether it be at a professional conference or seminar, fishing on the reef, collecting shells on a beach, in a classroom, or skiing the slopes of the Andes.  Thanks . . .



Dr. Michael Tatum, President for one more day

College of Micronesia-FSM

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