Departing President David G. Carter told the audience at his farewell reception in the Frances E. Geissler Gymnasium on Jan. 31 that he wasn’t leaving Eastern Connecticut State University to assume his new position as chancellor of the Connecticut State University (CSU) System. “I’m not really leaving Eastern,” Carter said. “Eastern will just have to share me with three other universities.”
More than 500 people gathered in the gym to thank Carter for his 17 years of service and wish him well in his new position. Leaders from the university and the local community — including CSU Board Chairman Lawrence McHugh and State Representative Walter Pawelkeiwicz — bestowed tokens of gratitude upon Carter. A slide show offered highlights of his tenure, among them Carter with university guests and friends such as Jesse Jackson and David Chase.
“When I stumbled, you were there to keep me from falling,” Carter said. “When I fell you helped me up. When I made mistakes, you forgave me and that is being human.”
He asked the Eastern community to do the same for President Michael Pernal, who has been at Eastern for more than 36 years, and will serve as president while a search committee interviews candidates for the presidency.
Carter had plenty of opportunities to leave Eastern during his administration, Lawrence McHugh, chairman of the CSU Board of Trustees recalled. “But every time, I said, ‘David, stay. Eastern needs you,’ In 2006, the Connecticut State University System needs him because of his honesty, integrity, passion, and dedication to public higher education. Dr. Carter is a role model for what is good about public education,” McHugh declared, “an individual who has been committed to the students, faculty and staff at Eastern. Now he will be committed to all the students, faculty, and staff in the Connecticut State University System.”
In response, Carter thanked McHugh for his help, and promised continued effort as chancellor. “I’m glad you were patient enough to teach me. I will do my best to measure up, and when I fall short, you will do your best to call me on it.”