Indiana Tech's ninth president strode into his inauguration ceremony with a smile Saturday afternoon, surrounded onstage by university officials, well-wishers and two predecessors.
“I am honored and quite humbled to be standing before you today,” Karl Einolf said at the start of his inaugural address, which he infused with humor and enthusiasm.
A few hundred people attended the event in the Schaefer Center on the Fort Wayne campus.
Days earlier, Indiana Tech celebrated Einolf's inauguration with a day of service. Students and staff were “out in full force,” associate professor Sherrill Hamman said, noting a desire on campus to have an annual day of giving.
Einolf, who became president July 1, expressed excitement about Indiana Tech's future and acknowledged the students in attendance.
“I'm inspired by the future you represent,” he said.
He also reflected on the university's past and summarized the contributions of past presidents, including those onstage – Arthur Snyder and Donald Andorfer who collectively served 32 years. He will carry their legacies forward with deep respect, Einolf said. “I am standing on the shoulders of giants,” he said, a photo of him standing beside Snyder and Andorfer flashing on a nearby screen.
Although Einolf has had only five months to make an impression as president, speakers expressed confidence in him. Those who knew him from his previous tenure at Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland assured the Indiana Tech crowd they are in good hands.
Genuine, respectful, considerate, caring, dedicated, compassionate, kind, fair, selfless, inspiring, reliable, dynamic and approachable are ways to describe Einolf, said Mary Beth Graham, an associate dean at Mount St. Mary's. “You have the best of the best,” she said.
Thomas Powell, president emeritus of Mount St. Mary's, said Einolf understands that higher education is about changing students' lives so they can better provide for their families and serve their communities.
Kevin Faus, who represented Indiana Tech alumni, described Einolf as a natural leader who makes those around him better.
“It's easy to see why faculty and students have taken to him so quickly,” Faus said.
Student Kelly Workman, who met Einolf when he was a presidential candidate, said it is clear he genuinely cares about students, noting he greets everyone he passes.
“You have exceeded my expectations,” she said.
Einolf has brought a sense of excitement and hope to Indiana Tech, said Susan McGrade, a faculty representative. She doesn't expect the praise for the new president will be short-lived.
“No,” she said, “this is not a honeymoon period.”