Dr. Burish’s farewell letter to Washington and Lee

Author: Dr. Thomas Burish


Dear Members of the Washington and Lee Community,

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I have informed the Board of Trustees today that I have accepted the position of Provost at the University of Notre Dame.Despite the attraction of returning to Notre Dame to assume what for me is a dream position, the decision to accept this offer was the most difficult of my life. Building upon a cherished foundation, Washington and Lee is poised for an even more distinguished future, and Pam and I will miss being part of that progress.

Notre Dame is my alma mater. It aspires to be both a great academic institution and a great Catholic institution. This latter attribute, being a Catholic institution, is why I went there as an undergraduate, and is a major reason I am now drawn back to it. The challenge of wrapping together this faith-based heritage while further strengthening its academic excellence is a rare opportunity and, for me, a special dream. I did not anticipate this opportunity or seek it, but am excited by it and am grateful for it.

None of this, however, makes it easy to leave for either Pam or me. We have made a home here, and after only a few years some of our most treasured friends are here. The faculty, staff, and students-individuals with whom we interact on a daily basis-are people we admire and enjoy. Rector Norwood and the trustees have been extraordinary in their leadership and oversight roles, and have been very supportive. The alumni and alumnae are uncommonly committed, generous, and involved. The debates and discussions we have had over the future of the University have been candid and rewarding, and led to much progress. Pam and I will continue to serve Washington and Lee in whatever ways we can during the

transition to a new President. I know the University will continue to prosper and grow in the future while retaining those qualities that make it so special.

While Pam and I will physically be leaving<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Lexington, part of us shall always remain at Washington and Lee. We are forever grateful to you for your friendship and support, and shall always be among the University’s most loyal advocates. It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to have been the President of Washington and Lee.

Sincerely yours,


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