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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

Thoughts from the Rectangle Office

Samhat+made+a+promise+to+forward+Justin+Gordon+that+if+the+basketball+team+advanced+in+the+NCAA+Tournament+against+Arkansas%2C+he+would+get+his+hair+box+cut+like+Gordon%E2%80%99s.+Wofford+did+not+advance%2C+but+Samhat+was+still+very+proud+of+the+team+and+kept+to+the+spirit+of+his+word.
Samhat made a promise to forward Justin Gordon that if the basketball team advanced in the NCAA Tournament against Arkansas, he would get his hair box cut like Gordon’s. Wofford did not advance, but Samhat was still very proud of the team and kept to the spirit of his word.

OG&B SITS DOWN WITH PRESIDENT NAYEF SAMHAT FOR AN END-OF-THE-YEAR Q&A

What’s the status of the Strategic Vision? Any updates? Setbacks? Exciting details?

The transformation of the vision into a more detailed planning document is proceeding. Led by Professor John Lefebvre and his VIA team, groups are being formed to examine in detail the various and many recommendations and to develop strategies, cost frameworks, metrics for measuring outcomes, etc. They will be collected and discussed by the community as we enter into the next academic year.

It is a very exciting process, and I should note that many peers have taken note of it, as have the editors from a quarterly of some national significance. Professor Lefebvre and his team have done a terrific job.

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When is the demolition of the Row, and what are your thoughts on the plans for the new one? Would you like to respond to any con- cerns you’ve heard around campus?

We anticipate the Row coming down around Commencement, perhaps a little before. There is site work to be done and dirt from that area to be used for the new Greek Village. We are hopeful that even as the fundraising effort proceeds, and I am thankful for the great support of friends, alumni, families and students, whose work and resources are helping to make the Greek Village a reality, we will be able to have vertical construction before the summer is out. Our goal is to open the Greek Village in the spring of 2016, and in the meantime I know our colleagues in Student Affairs have been coming up with really creative ideas about fraternity houses and events for the fall.

I know this is a time of transition and that leaves many unsettled, some unhappy, and enough uncertain. But we will soon have an extraordinary Greek Village that will be the envy of many. And while so many places are coming down hard on Greek, and fraternity life in particular, Wofford is doing just the opposite – celebrating the vibrancy and significance of Greek life on our campus. To me, it is a testament to the special and enduring role Greek life has at Wofford, and our commitment to do things the right and responsible way.

How has your past year as president been? Favorite moment? Most challenging? Most re- warding?

This has been an extraordinary year. The approval of the Strategic Vision, the announcement of three major new and transformational projects on campus that will touch every student at Wofford, conversations about our gen- eral education and campus governance, among other things. All of this is the result of the people at Wofford, their commitment to the institution and to the idea of an extraordinary student experience. Is it a lot? Most certainly. And I realize some are uncertain or unhappy with what seems to be too much happening too fast. Though, I would only say that building buildings is a good change. Asking questions about how our community is organized to work together is a good thing. Reflecting on the curriculum, which has not been done in quite some time, is a good thing. And we would do well to note that Wofford was not always a co-ed institution, and many programs we have today were never part of the curricular or co-curricular program in the past. So we are doing what Wofford has always done: being a leader in what it means to offer the finest undergraduate educational experience around.

I think the most challenging issue was the Greek Village in this sense. The emotion of Greek life and the history of Fraternity Row is an integral part of the social fabric of Wofford. I understand and greatly respect that his- tory and tradition. But I also understand that those houses are in very poor shape, and they would need to come down sooner rather than later. Like any other moment when something must be done, it is an opportunity. And in this case we took advantage of the opportunity to re-imagine what these houses might look like to embrace sororities, our multi-cultural and African-American organizations, as we do our traditional fraternity organizations in the design of a new Greek Village. It will be fantastic.

And, of course, the most rewarding aspect is that in the course of all of these things, the community is vibrant. People – students, faculty, and staff colleagues are engaged and involved in the life of Wofford. Whatever we are doing, it would not be possible without the collective commitment of the community. Any organization or institution is only as strong as those people who constitute it. We are fortunate and grateful to be a part of this wonderful place.

What are you most looking forward to for the 2015-2016 academic year?

Well, I am looking forward to breaking ground and watching the Greek Village, Center for the Arts and the Indoor Stadium rise up! We are also readying ourselves for a capital campaign to secure Wofford for the coming genera- tions. But I am simply looking forward to that moment when everyone returns to campus and the life of the college resumes in the fall, when we gather to once again, as we have done on this ground every year since 1854, to educate and transform the lives of young people. This is the very best job in the world.

Any well wishes or words of encouragement for exams?

Yes. Study hard. Pace yourself. And get some sleep! Don’t cram! I always found that a steady, well-paced review of my notes and materials up to a week in advance meant that I never felt the need to cram. I always got a good night’s rest. And generally it turned out okay!

Any words of wisdom for the graduating class of 2015?

Engage. Be active, involved. Do something. Opportunities only arise for those who are “doing,” not for those who are “waiting.” And re- member, that even those moments that appear as setbacks, and we all have them, are simply an avenue to a new and unexpected – perhaps even unintended – set of opportunities in life.

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