If we are fortunate enough, there are rare and exhilarating times when life presents us with the perfect position at the perfect time in the perfect place. Such is my story as President of the University of the Ozarks. I have not been perfect, but everything around me is perfection.
Four years ago during the Spring Board of Trustee meeting, I announced that Sherée and I would retire on July 1, 2013. At that time, the date seemed an infinity away. Now, it is almost upon us. Even though we still have one more year to serve as President and First Lady, we realize these months will vanish quickly. And there is still much to do.
When we came to Clarksville and the University of the Ozarks in June of 1997, the campus was facing a number of challenges. As we prepare for our departure, we continue to face challenges. Such is life for a small campus of higher education. We have accomplished an array of breath-taking successes during our years at Ozarks, and we are proud of what we have done. We are also confident that a new, equally-competent administration will attack the remaining, and always emerging, challenges with a refreshed vision and renewed energy. The result will be even more successes for Ozarks.
Sherée and I will miss so much of what our lives have become. We cannot begin to imagine the depth of our missing nor the breadth of our sadness, especially during the final months. At one point or another, all of us prepare ourselves for the next phase of life, and Sherée and I are ready. We love Arkansas and will retire in Hot Springs Village. We have purchased a house and look forward to living in a home that is our very own. We enjoy The President's Home, but we cherish the thought of our own place.
I plan to write. Book II in my series, "Fanfare for a Hometown," will be released in July, and I have written several chapters for Book III. Sherée will serve as Moderator of the Arkansas Presbytery in 2013, remain on a variety of state-wide committees and organizations, and continue to give her time and energy unselfishly. We will not be idle.
We still have sufficient time for farewell words and deep hugs. Sherée and I will take advantage of the time we have remaining at Ozarks. The perfect position at the perfect time in the perfect place is simply too precious to let go too quickly. Please savor it with us.
Rick D. Niece, Ph.D.
University of the Ozarks