Vanderbilt students, faculty and employees met newly-appointed Chancellor Daniel Diermeier Dec. 4 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Student Life Center Ballroom.
Diermeier is currently the Provost at the University of Chicago. He will become the ninth chancellor in the University’s history July 2020.
Diermeier worked his way around the Ballroom taking pictures and speaking with members of the Vanderbilt community. Chairman of the Board of Trust Bruce Evans then introduced Diermeier on stage to all of the meet & greet attendees.
Diermeier began by speaking about Vanderbilt’s current foundation. The university’s place in higher education, commitment to research and teaching, accessibility of education to a variety of financial circumstances with Opportunity Vanderbilt and athletic successes are all distinguishing factors that make Vanderbilt special, he said.
“I was drawn to Vanderbilt because of its current strength, its ability to distinguish itself in a rapidly changing and sometimes challenging landscape and the clear desire of its community to grow and change in pursuit of its mission,” Diermeier said.
Diermeier also thanked interim Chancellor Susan Wente and former Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos for creating this foundation to build upon. Diermeier said he will look to them as experienced advisors in this role for support.
“I’m looking forward to working closely with her [Wente] in her role as Provost, a role I know to be critical and to be at the core of any university,” Diermeier said. “I have and will seek his [Zeppos’] counsel regularly. I recognize the need for responsibilities and expectations with being named a successor to someone who is rightly loved and admired by the university.”
He emphasized the importance of building and sustaining a diverse and inclusive community.
“Diversity and inclusion are absolutely essential and critical to excellence at every level. I commit to continuing the inclusive community that is being built at Vanderbilt. Diversity and inclusion have been some of my top priorities as dean and provost at the University of Chicago,” Diermeier said.
Sophomore Abigail Green said she came because she recognizes the importance of having a new chancellor with only nine total chancellors in the Vanderbilt’s history. She said the chancellor should build on the legacy that was left before him. Sophomore Andrew Sullivan came to the event because he wanted to get his own look at the new chancellor.
“I’ve heard all of these things about him in the hours since the emails came out,” sophomore Andrew Sullivan said. “People have these strong opinions about who he is and what he’s done. I just wanted to get a feel for him myself.”
Diermeier ended his address by reiterating how happy he was to be part of the unique Vanderbilt culture. He said Vanderbilt is known as a place where cooperation is important and colleagues are open and friendly.
“In my career, many times that the greatest success occurs when scholars and students come together around a shared challenge, bring new perspectives, exchange ideas and then walk away with solutions to the toughest problems,” Diermeier said.
Diermeier also put forward ideas for the future of Vanderbilt. He said the university should remain true to its values, while also working on the process of developing towards excellence in the undergraduate, graduate and biomedical departments.