Weekly Features

From the Desk of the Chancellor

Milestones in leadership

June 17, 2014

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

People and places that adhere to that bold course are labeled trailblazers. They are characterized by one milestone after another -- substantiating the separation between visionary and status quo. Rather than wait for a change, they choose instead to make a difference.

I apply those characteristics to both an IUPUI institution -- the IU School of Nursing celebrating its 100th year -- and Robert True, who just became Chief of IU Police-Indianapolis.

On first glance, these celebrations may seem little more than coincidental -- the chief sworn in Monday and the gala celebration of 100 years of nursing Saturday. But on closer examination, I suggest a few unintended parallels. 

One entity is devoted to health, the other to safety. As an urban university with statewide impact and global reach, those two elements form the cornerstone of student and campus success; the assurance of security and acclaim derived from achievements in health education and research.

Being one of the oldest nursing schools in the nation may be chronological happenstance. But becoming one of the best is the intentional outcome of iconic staff and faculty leadership committed to a common vison; people who had a dream and the relentless tenacity to bring it to fruition.

For precisely a third of that century, Bob True was a part of the IUPUI police department. Through his talent, creativity and untiring work ethic, he evolved into major influence -- rising through the ranks. Ultimately, he too turned a dream into reality. With 33 years of experience, Bob is a highly respected leader.

Another common characteristic of the two is that though there is a sense of gratification in reaching certain plateaus in life, both the IU School of Nursing leadership and the new Chief of Police are focused not on what has already been accomplished but instead on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

IUPUI is still becoming. Both the IU School of Nursing and Police Chief True are key to the process.  Few things are more exciting than the possibilities!

Read more From the Desk of the Chancellor stories »