A bright future is in store for Simpson College. Jay Simmons will officially become Simpson’s 23rd president today.
Simmons has served as president since July 2013, and has been getting accustomed to Simpson before inauguration this month. Preparation for inauguration has been a long process, and now the final product is here.
Preparation for this special event started in mid-November 2013. Jill Johnson, Executive Director of Simpson’s Marketing and Public Relations Office, was originally a part of the transition team when Simmons first arrived. Because of this position, Johnson was appointed the chair of the inauguration team as well.
Inauguration marks the final task and represents all the hard work put into the transition and preparation.
“Inauguration really denotes something special for Simpson. It is a new beginning for the college. It doesn’t happen often, so it is something to celebrate. It is a great day for Simpson,” Johnson said.
The process began with a large committee that was broken into five smaller committees. The committees each represented a different area. Publicity and print, ceremony and program, logistics, reception, and a student committee were all included in the planning.
Each committee worked on its own projects and had to bring them together in the end to make one cohesive
The student committee set up their own event on the Wednesday before inauguration to bring the student body together with the president. Annie Fullas, a senior, was chair of the student committee as she serves as the Student Government Association’s Vice President.
In an email interview, Fullas said, “It's been fun being a part of the planning process. I hadn't realized how much effort it takes to pull off an event like the presidential inauguration. I'm glad the student event on Wednesday night was something that could be included in the week of celebration!”
The inauguration is not just special to faculty, staff and the Simmons’ family, but also to students that want to get to know the top administration at Simpson. It forms a connection between faculty and student body that helps create excitement and pride for the college.
“I'm excited for campus to dedicate this week to celebrating President Simmons' addition to our Simpson community. For the Wednesday night dinner, it’s a fantastic way for President Simmons
and Mrs. Simmons to interact with students and hear their stories,” Fullas said.
The last inauguration was eight years ago, and this one will be different.
“Simmons is more streamlined and focused on what the transition means for Simpson. In the past, there was a week’s worth of events leading up to inauguration, but Simmons wants it to be about Simpson and not focused on him as a person,” Johnson said.
There were no major issues in the preparation according to Johnson. “Everything went smoothly and each committee did a nice job. The only thing was working against the clock, as it crept up on us quickly.”
“The Simmons family is very excited for the event and have been great to work with,” Johnson said.
President Simmons is a humble person and really wants the inauguration to be about Simpson and the bright future he wants to bring to the college. Today marks a change at Simpson. A new era and legacy. It is a day to celebrate and look toward creating continual success at Simpson.