Hello from President Greg Salyer, Ph.D.

uprprofile200A little over a year ago, I wrote President Harris and asked if I could be a part of this amazing institution, one that I had only then discovered. It was a Tuesday, and he asked me to come in and speak with him that Thursday. By the following Monday I was teaching a graduate class and directing two theses. Obadiah has wisdom and an uncanny intuition about people. That he would trust me to teach at this hallowed institution made me want to teach especially well—for him and for the legacy of Manly P. Hall. That he now supports me as his successor humbles and inspires me. Thank you, Obadiah, for your wisdom, grace, and trust. You will always be with us here as we continue this profound work.

As I noted in my Dean’s message last fall, my experience in higher education is broad and deep. I have been teaching online in one form or another since 2000, and I have taught at small colleges, regional state universities, and an international research university. At all of these institutions, I have been an administrator in one way or another, whether it was chairing a department, directing a program, or creating a new initiative. My scholarship and teaching are also broad and deep and cross disciplinary boundaries in literature, philosophy, religious studies, and American studies. I have had a fascinating journey in higher education to this point, but becoming President of the University of Philosophical Research and the Philosophical Research Society is beyond my wildest and highest dreams. It is a sacred calling to me, and I will discharge my duties in that light.

The future is bright here. That is not idle speculation because I know what he have in UPR/PRS. We have the legacy of one of the great scholars and teachers of the twentieth century in Manly P. Hall. We have the initiative and momentum of President Emeritus Obadiah Harris who created an online wisdom school before schools were really even thinking of online education. We also have the most supportive and invested board of directors I have seen in my time in higher education. Finally, we have a staff that is dedicated, determined, and eager to advance UPR/PRS to the next stage of its development. I want to especially thank the board and the staff for making this the easiest decision I have ever had to make about a position. I have no doubts about our ability to succeed, and that is because of you.

As I look back upon my and professional journey, I think often of Odysseus, that reluctant traveler who wanted only to get home and who experienced strange gods and dangerous monsters along the way. This place, both sacred and familiar, feels like a good place to both rest from the journey and to do some good work. It feels like home. I hope it does to all seekers of wisdom, and we will all work to make it safe and rewarding place for you. As for the future, I think of the Good, Gray Poet, Walt Whitman, who wrote:

Of the progress of the souls of men and women along the grand roads of the universe, all other progress is the needed emblem and sustenance.
Forever alive, forever forward,
Stately, solemn, sad, withdrawn, baffled, mad, turbulent, feeble, dissatisfied,
Desperate, proud, fond, sick, accepted by men, rejected by men,
They go! they go! I know that they go, but I know not where they go,
But I know that they go toward the best—toward something great.
“Song of the Open Road”

We go—toward the best, toward something great.

Greg

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