August 29, 2016
Dear Marietta College alumni and friends:

Earlier last week, I joined 12 fellow employee volunteers and a couple of community members to put up 140 Marietta College flags in the downtown area. The sky was still dark and there was a nice breeze, which made it a perfect morning. We laughed and joked as we carried ladders down Front Street, and then marveled as we looked back at the impressive display of flags.

The flags that hang from the lampposts will be up for two weeks, including the first week of classes as we welcome back our students to campus. I can’t think of a more exciting time of the year. Today classes resumed and the fun and hard work begin. Let me say that again — fun and hard work. Everyone at Marietta knows there is a lot of hard work that needs to be done, but we can also have fun as we do it.

We plan to take on each challenge with determination and a smile. Improved customer service is a must. I have an open-door policy and I have encouraged faculty, staff, and students to pop in and share with me any concerns they have. But I’ve also challenged them to bring solutions to me as well. We are re-establishing the Marietta Team approach and the early results are encouraging.

In the nearly two months that Judy and I have been here, nothing has changed our opinion about how special Marietta College is. I hope you will come back for Homecoming 2016 during the October 14-16 weekend and witness for yourself the re-energized Marietta campus.

Every day I meet someone new and I always walk away impressed with what we have on this beautiful campus. Just last week, Judy and I welcomed the men’s and women’s soccer team on the same day — one at midnight and the other at 8 a.m. — and we both came away overly impressed with the quality of people we attract to Marietta College. We also helped Coach Andy Waddle and the football program sell some team gear, and introduce ourselves to the freshmen and their parents.

Nowhere near finished with our “greeting” responsibilities, Judy and I joined the 30th cohort of McDonough Scholars during their EXCEL training. Let me tell you — and Dean Gama Perruci may agree with me — it might be one of the best groups ever. Wednesday was the big day as we helped the Class of 2020 move into the residence halls and I presided over my first Marietta College Matriculation ceremony. We carried boxes and suitcases, but we also got some valuable one-on-one time with our parents and students.

I am sure you would be impressed with the next generation of Pioneers. I’m excited to be the 19th President of this great institution, and I know there’s still a lot of good work that needs to be done. What I saw last Monday when our small group came together early in the morning to make sure our new and returning students felt welcomed and to help brighten up downtown with those beautiful Navy Blue and White flags was remarkable.

We were tired and needed coffee, but everyone spoke in such positive ways about their love of Marietta College. You could see the pride on their faces as they saw how striking it was to see 140 Marietta College flags lining the streets.

Thank you for your commitment to Marietta College. I promise we will continue to make you proud.

Go Pioneers!

Bill Ruud
President, Marietta College