HARTSVILLE, S.C. (courtesy coker.edu) — First and foremost, let me express my continued excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to lead Coker University. Yesterday was my “first day” as president and it was a day full of inspiration and meaningful conversations. Many of you have shared ideas, challenges, and big hopes for our future. I will continue to listen intently and know that together we will undertake the important and exciting work of building the dreams we have for Coker.
As much as yesterday marked the beginning of what I know will be a rewarding year ahead for our campus community, I come to this role at a time when our world is hurting. COVID19 turned spring semester into a story unlike any we could have imagined writing. We’ve missed the companionship of our campus community and along with the rest of the world, we’ve struggled to find connectedness during this difficult time.
Now our nation faces even greater challenges as we also confront the continued painful realities of prejudice. And while our university works to achieve our dreams, we must continue to ensure that injustice and inequality have no place on our campus or in the Coker University family. Not in our programs. Not in our athletic contests. Not in our residences, or classrooms, or in our relationships across the region. Not in how we treat and take care of each other. Indeed – the Coker University tenets demand that one pledge to “Conduct myself with integrity and be responsible for my actions and their consequences and respect the rights, property, culture, and beliefs of others.”
As president of Coker University, let me be very clear that I and Coker University will never tolerate discrimination, or acts of hate and violence, on our campus or within our community. Instead, let the Coker community draw strength from our diversity, and live the values of integrity and respect such that we are the model for supporting everyone in achieving their potential regardless of the color of their skin.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as Coker University’s 17th president. These are indeed challenging times, and I know that together we will create a better and more just world.
Dr. Natalie Harder, President of Coker University