To: Life West Community
From: Gerard W. Clum, D.C.
Date: October 22, 2010
Re: An Announcement
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In early January 1981, I met Dr. Sid Williams at the Northside Airport Express shuttle in Marietta, Georgia. I was about to leave for Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport and a flight to San Francisco to assume the presidency of Life Chiropractic College West. We shook hands; he wished me well, told me to have fun, took the LP pin off the lapel of his sport-coat and put it on mine.
It is not possible that thirty years have passed since that day. But I know they have. It is not possible that our children are grown, but they are. It is not possible that we now have grandchildren many years older than the age our children were when we made the move to California, but we do. It is not possible that all that gray hair strewn about the floor of the Super Cuts after a haircut is mine, but it is.
The opportunities, privileges and trust that were extended to me thirty years ago seem ludicrous. I was in my twenties and a college president! In 1981, all I needed to know was that Sid (Dr. Williams) thought I could do it. Today, I look back and break into a cold sweat at the extent of my ignorance and naiveté while remaining grateful for the trust Dr. Williams invested in me.
When I was in the 7th grade, The Byrds introduced me to the reality of seasons and times when they sang “Turn, Turn, Turn”. Quoting from the Book of Ecclesiastes, they sang, “To everything, there is a season and, a time to every purpose under heaven.” After very careful, extended and deliberate thought, I have come to the conclusion that it is time to bring my “season” at Life Chiropractic College West to a close. As a result, I have tendered my resignation to the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents of the College.
This is my decision entirely. It was a decision that was not easily arrived at but one that felt right as soon as it was made. I am not angry, unhappy, displeased or upset. If I must admit to anything, it is that I am tired. This decision did not arise solely from within me, rather it arose from a confluence of circumstance and opportunity. The circumstances are mine; the opportunity is the College’s and the profession’s.
Life Chiropractic College West has been the focus of the majority of my career and, from the perspective of vocation and avocation, it has been a central element of my adult life. Thinking about who will take over when I am no longer here is natural. It is, however, a question I don’t get to answer! That responsibility belongs to the Board of Regents of the College.
Earlier this year, I learned that a person I greatly respect and admire in chiropractic education was interested in exploring new opportunities. This is a person who has the skills, talents, contacts and perspectives needed for a chiropractic college president. My inner urging that it was time for me to move on from the College had arrived and crossed paths with a potential successor as president. I introduced this individual to Dr. Dieter, chair of the Board of Regents, and a dialogue with the Board began. From these discussions has emerged the opportunity for me to respect the internal demands I am feeling and, at the same time, leave the College with great confidence that my successor will respect the vision, values and mission that have been the cornerstone of the College and of its success.
I am retiring from my role as president of the College. I am not retiring from the chiropractic profession or from a working lifestyle. My professional goal at this point is to narrow the focus of my activities and to seek opportunities that will allow me to apply my strengths for the betterment of the profession. When I think of re-inventing myself for the next phase of my life, I think of Senator George Mitchell or President Carter—please excuse the grandiose comparisons—and people who were accomplished in one role in their lives and leveraged those experiences to achieve greater accomplishments in another. I pray I am so fortunate.
The dedicated, honest, sincere, talented, committed, knowledgeable and caring people that I have had the pleasure to work with at Life West over these past thirty years were responsible for filling my cup to the half-full mark. The passionate, excited and dedicated students I have had the pleasure of knowing over all the years sent it to overflowing. To all, I express my thanks and gratitude. You transformed a job into a labor of love. If you show your new president a fraction of the kindness and cooperation you provided me, he will be a fortunate man and the College will be well-served.
In closing, I wish to acknowledge my wife, Cathy, and our children, Don, Cassie and Lauren. Cathy allowed me incredible latitude and flexibility in attending to the demands of my position. Time away from home was considerable; time at home but with my mind and attention elsewhere was even more common. The dinners, recitals, games, parties and events missed are a source of great embarrassment on my part today. Thank you for your love, understanding, patience and tolerance. You are the best family a man could ask for!
To get to some of the specifics in this situation, I will be concluding my service to the College on January 28, 2011, taking a period of vacation and officially ending my employment on February 28, 2011. My successor will arrive on campus the week of January 24th, 2011 and will assume his presidency at 5:00p January 28, 2011. Thereafter, it will be my pleasure to be at his call, 24/7, to assist in any way he desires.
Thank you for your friendship and support. Thank you for your understanding of my decision. Most importantly, thank you for your support of your new president. That support on your part will be the kindest expression of thanks you could ever show me.
Source: Life Chiropractic College West, www.lifewest.edu