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"Any organization that becomes stagnant dies."

These were the rather strong words I heard the other day spoken by former GE CEO Jack Welch on television. While I certainly don't agree with everything that he has said over the years, the quote resonates with me as we think about the future of our organization. We have several initiatives moving ahead that will greatly impact our future — most significantly, our school’s strategic plan update and our new facility project in the South of Market neighborhood.

January is a great month to look ahead, whether personally, professionally or as an institution. With the holidays now over, it’s a time to reflect and plan for future directions in all aspects of our lives.

Thinking about our school, we can appreciate what we have achieved as an educational institution, but at the same time, we must also recognize that we can’t stop where we are. If we do not continue to move forward, we could easily lose our first-place status.

Many dental schools closed in the 1980s because they remained stagnant. They did not face the reality of a changing world or changing dental education, choosing to live on their reputations. But they also eventually "died" on their reputations.

We will not share their same fate. All the progress we are making — the development of our integrated curriculum, the refinement of our strategic plan and ultimately the move to new facilities — clearly indicates that the Dugoni School is not stagnant at all. We have a bright future ahead.

Change, while sometimes difficult, is often necessary. We have become comfortable in our present environment — we have outstanding people, some of the best and brightest students we could imagine, and a strong dedication to our mission. However, I believe we must continue on our path forward and plan for even greater achievements as a school.

I’m very excited for 2012 and the great strides we will make this year and beyond.