A journey of passion

Destinee Ott/The Register

David McFaddin, EKU's interim president, poses at his desk in the Coates building. 

"Coming to Eastern felt like coming home," Interim President of Eastern Kentucky University David McFaddin said.

McFaddin explained that in 2012 when previous EKU president Charles Whitlock called him up and asked if he wanted a change of career, he had spent 14 years working in a corporate setting. He explained that as an employee of AT&T, formerly BellSouth LLC, he was completing a family tradition of 157 years of continued services. But McFaddin explained that when he thought about his passions, both professionally and personally, working for EKU felt like the right choice. So he took the title of executive director of government and community relations.

McFaddin was not new to the world of teaching, or EKU, when Whitlock offered him the job. He explained that he had been teaching since 2009 as an adjunct in the communications department. He taught classes on government relations and political communications, sports writing and r.

Even before his time teaching at EKU, McFaddin had attended the college for both his undergraduate degree and his doctorate degree. McFaddin said he attended EKU between 1996 to 1999 to earn his undergraduate degree in public relations. He then returned with an MBA earned from the Gatton School at UK to get his doctorate in educational leadership and policy.

While attending EKU as a student, McFaddin said that he found a passion for playing tennis. But his favorite memory was the relationships he built with the faculty. He said that the faculty he met while being a student at EKU had a big impact on his life and continue to be mentors, friends and people whom he relies on.

Now, coming into his eighth year with EKU's administration as the Senior Vice President for Operations and Strategic Initiatives, McFaddin has been chosen as EKU's interim president after Michael Benson's resignation.

"I find myself here today, and I feel very comfortable and confident to do the duties of interim president," McFaddin said. He looks forward to the new decade.

Goals

McFaddin explained some of the focuses he will have during his time as the interim president, such as strategic enrollment growth. McFaddin said he wants EKU to continue to be a leader in students having a great residential experience, but he also wants the school to compete online.

McFaddin went on to say that he wants to focus on financial stewardship. He admitted that EKU has been through a series of budget tightening activities, and resources are limited. He said he wants to be a good steward of every resource that EKU has. McFaddin said he wants to invest in the places that would give the best opportunities to faculty, staff and, "most importantly," students.

McFaddin also wants to focus on the student experience. Regardless of if it's with athletics, concerts or what happens in the classroom, he wants students to have an experience they remember.

"When they're 20 years removed from their degree, I want their time at EKU to be something that has shaped and transformed them," McFaddin said.

McFaddin said he knows EKU is a school with its own culture and many different legacies and traditions. But he also knows that there can be some things that can be made better. So he plans to engage with faculty, staff and students in order to help shape the EKU experience and make sure that everyone has a seat at the table.

"As we stand here today in 2020, there is an opportunity for us to be better tomorrow than we were today," McFaddin said.

Alongside all these focuses, McFaddin said he will never lose sight of academic excellence. He said this is the "pillar that EKU stands on," and he plans to recognize faculty for their outstanding work as well as student achievements.

McFaddin said the search for a new president is a board process, and he hopes it will be thorough and fair. However, during his time as interim president, McFaddin plans to have a "laser focus" on the work at hand.

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