The best job in the world

by | Apr 25, 2024 | Inside Mines, Spring 2024 | 0 comments

Paul C. Johnson

Some have said that being a university president is the toughest or even the loneliest job in the world, but I think that Vanderbilt University Chancellor Daniel Diermeier had it right when he recently wrote in a piece for Forbes that being a university president is the best job in the world—although I’d argue that being Mines’ president is the best of the best. 

After all, I get to spend time with some of the brightest students and faculty in the world. I get to see all that our dedicated staff do to support our community. I get to meet with alumni who are very passionate about their alma mater. On top of all that, this year we’re celebrating our 150th anniversary and the many things we’ve accomplished leading up to it.

I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who has been part of our MINES@150 journey, as that work has been so critical to position Mines for success in the future. You’ve probably read of the many challenges facing higher education: fewer students going to college, tighter budgets, the politicization of education, student health concerns and even questions about the value of a college degree. We anticipated many of those, and through the MINES@150 initiatives, we’re looking to succeed under conditions that many institutions are just hoping to survive.  

I like to say that one of Mines’ strengths is that we have always had a very clear mission, one we’ve always excelled at delivering and never deviated far from. We produce the talent, knowledge and innovations that industry and society need for prosperity. We work on things that matter. That’s our lane. That’s what the world needs from Mines. There should never be a question of the value or relevance of a Mines education. 

Along those lines, this spring we added the final pieces to what may be the most comprehensive integrated Entrepreneurship and Innovation Ecosystem on any college campus by opening the Labriola Innovation District and the Beck Venture Center. Going forward, every student will get to experience what it’s like to take an innovation from idea to reality, and we’ll have support for students, faculty, alumni and university partners to take their discoveries to market. We’ll be able to say that Mines produces the talent, knowledge, innovations and the products and companies that industry and society need for prosperity.  

I’m also excited about the progress we are making toward being the exemplar for alumni affinity and engagement. There are more opportunities than ever, and we need you to be mentors, advisory board members, speakers, champions and advocates for Mines. Please reach out and get engaged. I can’t think of a better time to start than during Mines’ 150th birthday year.

Go Orediggers! 

Paul C. Johnson
President and Professor