Adapted from an article originally published in Meredith Magazine, Fall 2012
For years, I crewed for a hot air balloon team, helping with the balloon’s inflation, following its travels, and then packing it up at the end of the flight.
When spectators following us asked where the balloon was going, crew members often pulled an insiders’ joke, telling them that it would land “at the airport.” Then, when the spectators went tearing off to the airport, the crew dissolved into fits of laughter.
The truth about ballooning is that we don’t know where the balloon will land. Indeed, that’s half the beauty of the balloon—the freedom, rising up on earth’s thermal winds and landing softly (we hope) in a safe field miles away.
It is such a beautiful image, in fact, that we may be tempted to try to adopt that freedom and its lack of intentionality in all that we do, resulting in even more glorious vistas—whether real or symbolic.
Unfortunately, and contrary to the beauty of the untethered balloon, a college without direction and grounding can result in devastation and ruin.
At Meredith, we are implementing a new strategic plan for the College that sets as our landing spot a destiny that is well aligned with our history and our current realities. The plan focuses on six key pillars: educational excellence, including academic and co-curricular emphases; enhanced visibility and reputation; optimal enrollment, including modest growth; sound financial strength based on operational efficiencies and new revenues; carefully maintained and enhanced technology and facilities for state-of-the-art living and learning; and an enhanced quality of life that sustains the students, faculty and staff throughout the Meredith community.
We are committed through this plan to creating a culture that builds possibilities from current realities and connects entrepreneurial thinking and leadership with grounded accountability. In that sense, we are building a balloon that will soar—one that will lift Meredith’s reputation and ability to serve, while retaining a clear view of our values and responsibilities.
We have a wonderful opportunity to build an even brighter future for Meredith. You can help us launch that future by recommitting to the life of Meredith and the difference she makes in the lives of us all.