It is certainly an honor to become the thirteenth Chancellor of Winston-Salem State University. While I am new in this role, I certainly am familiar with WSSU. Growing up in Eastern North Carolina, I heard a great deal about the university and I have maintained a professional interest in what has transpired here over the years
I know from its beginnings in 1892 as Slater Industrial Academy, that the institution has prided itself on providing students with the knowledge necessary to be successful in their professions, in their families and in their communities. Defining success beyond graduating and getting a job, however, has meant offering an education that supports the development of the entire student. It is by emphasizing the importance of service as part of the educational experience that WSSU has prepared our graduates to become true leaders.
Another constant in the preparation of our graduates has been delivering an education that is relevant in the context of the times. When we look at its early years, we see that Simon Green Atkins focused on educating students to meet the needs of a changing world at the turn of the twentieth century. That meant he needed to graduate students who could teach African American children who were starting to have opportunities to learn to read and to write. Today, we find ourselves striving to prepare our graduates to be able to be successful in the twenty-first century. That means ensuring that our graduates are able to adapt to change in a diverse environment.
This rapid pace of change, especially in technology, and the creation of a global economy have certainly affected how we teach and, to some extent, what we teach. Yet, it cannot affect what has made this university strong for more than one hundred twenty years. We have to continue to provide our students with a high touch, caring educational environment that also imparts upon them the value of service to others and an appreciation for social justice for all.
Over the next several months, we will be refining the vision for the future of Winston-Salem State and developing strategies to reach our goals. I can, however, tell you now that my personal vision for Winston-Salem State will always include providing our graduates with the tools necessary to become successful. To do that means we must continue to be innovative and to make changes when needed. We also must remain committed to providing an education that remains grounded in the university’s motto of “Enter to Learn. Depart to Serve.”
I hope you will join me as we embark on this next phase in the life of Winston-Salem State University and I certainly look forward to working with you.
Elwood L. Robinson
Elwood L. Robinson, Ph.D.