Emotional at times, humorous and humbled at others, Interim President Frank Lombardo urged the college community to keep moving forward. "These are the hardest of times and the best of times," he said. "The best thing each of us can do for the institution now is to keep looking toward the future."
Citing past college milestones such as enrollment growth, expansion of facilities, the establishment of new degree programs and student support services as evidence of the fruits forward thinking will bear, Mr. Lombardo added, "Change is inevitable. No one can stop it. But the one thing you can do, right now, is to start thinking about how we can become an even better institution."
The former senior vice president of academic affairs and career mathematics professor downplayed his new role as Daytona State’s interim president, engaging the audience with the ease of a 30-plus-year veteran educator and pointing to students in the audience as the most important reason to keep focused on the college mission.
Mr. Lombardo also said a new president will likely be selected by late spring and will inherit "an institution that is more than just a college, but a primary economic engine of our community."
Then, in classic Frank Lombardo style, the 73-year-old former US Air Force lieutenant colonel shared an observation about his own eventual departure from Daytona State College.
"I’m pre-fired," he said. "My time here has an end date. Sooner or later it’s going to happen to each of us. We’re all going to have a last day at Daytona State College. But remember one thing. This place should be better because you were here, not because you left."