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Weekly Wisdom 005 - Ed Ray

Bridget Burns, Executive Director of the University Innovation Alliance, and Jeff Selingo, author, columnist, and special advisor at Arizona State University, are inviting insight and experiences from presidents and chancellors of universities navigating the challenge in real-time. The fifth guest is the president of Oregon State University, Ed Ray. He has been the president since 2003; previously, he was provost at The Ohio State University, and he is one of the founders of the University Innovation Alliance.

How is He Holding Up?

Edward remarks that leaving battle after taking your responsibilities seriously in the midst of it doesn’t make you glad because you were conditioned for the fight.

Thinking about all the adverse outcomes the outbreak caused, Ed’s heart goes out to people and leaders facing the pandemic but notes that nobody has it all figured out either.

With Transitional Changes Does He Have Any Framework to Hand the Baton Elegantly?

Ray points out four general framework plans that he recommends

  1. One responsibility of leaders is to lead effectively for successful outcomes.
  2. Celebrate people’s successes to make them open to rededicate themselves to new challenges.
  3. Own failure, even if the fault is collective, and encourage them to get back up.
  4. Strategic planning to help the next leader

Is He Making Reference to Any Past Leadership Moment Now?

Ed pointed out that every setback is disappointing, and no two are the same. He also stated that woefulness has no room in leadership, so changing and shaping things that are within control helps.

"When life is hell, you need to keep moving."-Winston Churchill

What Was His Proudest Moment that He Will Take With Him?

He said commencement is one of his favorite moments and spending time with students. Based on the book Goodbye Mr. Chips, Edward said he would live his life like Mr. Chips if plans go perfectly. Then he shares a favorite moment from a Beaver game.

Are There Any Books or Movies He Would Suggest?

His favorite movie is “It’s a wonderful life,” which taught him about focusing on making an impact, on what matters, and what doesn’t matter.

What Does He Hope Will Stay?

For the students, he makes references to “In Pharaoh’s army” by Tobias Wolff about this time being a defining moment. Ray also boasts about his staff and their efforts towards reform and improvements.

A One-Sentence Commencement Speech

He understands that graduates are being tested, but they need to be resilient and not standstill.

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