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Fred Sweitzer, Retired University Provost

I was raised to carry my own weight (handle my own issues and challenges) and those of others when it was needed. My parents were great examples of both. They didn’t talk much about it; they just did it. Carrying my own weight was a point of pride, but I did need to learn when and how to ask for help. In my professional life I have been given and/or asked for more weight to carry, culminating in my time as Provost. There was the normal weight of learning a complex job and being responsive to such a wide range of people and units, and building effective teams, and then there was the extraordinary weight of the pandemic and all the academic, financial, and human consequences. I felt privileged to carry that weight, to carry it with others, and to stand shoulder to shoulder with colleagues as we met the challenges. It was also, of course, a huge burden and became more so the longer things went on. It has felt good to lay down that weight, although there is still a part of me that feels like I should still be soldiering on.


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