By Aubrianna Plavajka / Staff Writer
By Aubrianna Plavajka / Staff Writer
Students, faculty and Jan Muto’s friends and family gathered in the Landis Performing Arts Center Sept. 29 to listen attentively as Muto was officially greeted as Riverside Community College District’s ninth president.
Muto has served as president since Jan. 2009.
Chancellor Gregory Gray and Virginia Blumenthal, president of the RCCD Board Of Trustees, were two of the speakers who offered their personal greetings to President Muto.
They also conveyed the confidence they have in the change President Muto will create during her term in office. They voiced the eager anticipation of achievements they stated would be in the RCCD future.
All speakers promoted change, progress and hope, which kept in beat with the event’s theme: art and innovation.
The event began with a performance by the Riverside City College Wind Ensemble and Dance Tour to express the general idea of arts playing a key role of the future.
Virginia Blumenthal praised Muto’s leadership skills and compared them to those of former President Dwight Eisenhower, who once said, “You do not lead by hitting people over the head–that’s assault, not leadership,”
Blumenthal also expressed that leadership is an art form.
Jeffrey Selingo, editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education and a former student of President Muto, explained the importance of the day’s theme in regards to higher education by comparing colleges to the newspaper industry.
He explained that innovation must be kept in higher education because the institutions that are bold enough to distinguish themselves from the pack will be the colleges which survive.
Selingo stated that newspapers have been dwindling down to nothing because of the innovation of the internet.
The key is to stay on top by keeping up to date with the arts. Math and science, he said, were important, but should have less of an emphasis.
Selingo said that students should be able to toggle between the left and right side of the brain to enable them to think critically about a situation from opposing sides.
Both science and art should be a balanced part of a student’s school experience, he said.
Muto also advocated the idea of art and innovation.
“The arts provide the spark. They ignite, inspire and nourish the soul,” Muto said. “Artists accomplish more with limited resources than anyone else and they do so in the interest of serving a greater good and creating something that will benefit someone else.”
Muto assured that RCC will be best known for its innovation and went on to further introduce the establishment of the President’s Annual Award for Innovation.
This new award will be given to an individual or group in each of four areas: staff, faculty, management and students.
This honorary award will be given to the individuals who show innovation in their academic careers and to those who work towards a better community.
The upcoming Fall of 2010 will mark the first time that the President’s Annual Award for Innovation will be given out.
A roar of applause ended the ceremony to thank the speakers for sharing their inspirational and insightful thoughts.
Attendees walked out of the theater to the RCC Marching Tigers playing cheerful music, an expression of not only the arts, but also the bright future ahead as promised in the day’s speeches.
Attendees were then invited to assemble for a post-ceremony reception in the A.G. Paul Quadrangle.
The RCC Dance Tour performed once again and food was offered to those who attended the reception.
Chris Bishop, a student who attended the event to see his girlfriend perform, shared his thoughts about the opinions shared during the ceremony.
“The speeches were so inspiring,” Bishop said. “So many people gather together to make this school a better place. The dancers and wind ensemble were inspiring too.”
Briseida Garcia, another student attendee, commented on the speeches that were given earlier in the day.
“I liked that everyone talked about the arts, which is usually subject to cuts,”Garcia said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing what Muto does in her term as president and how it is going to change the school.”