GIBSON: From Congressman To Siena President


From Congressman

To Siena President

‘Servant Leaders’ Will Take

Nation To Brighter Future

Chris Gibson, Otsego County’s former congressman, addresses the college community after he was named Siena College president Friday, Feb. 14. (Siena College photo)

Editor’s Note: Chris Gibson, former congressman for New York’s 19th District, which includes Otsego County, Friday, Feb. 14, was named president of Siena College.  Here is an excerpt from his remarks to the college community.

By CHRIS GIBSON • Special to

I want to close my remarks by focusing on the students. You are why we are here. And we believe in you.

You know you turn on the news today and we’re all bombarded. We get the negativity, the divide, the vitriol, we don’t treat each other right in this country right now and we all wonder, “How are we going to get through this mean season?”

The answer’s in this room. We need more Saints. We need more Siena Saints. Because it is here, at Siena, imbued with the Franciscan Tradition, where our view of Liberal Arts is about “whole person” development.

Liberal Arts about intellectual development? Absolutely. But also physical development, moral/ethical development, religious development, and spiritual development.

I have seen the human condition in some of the most trying of circumstances, especially in combat. What I’ve noticed: It’s at those moments that “servant leaders” step forward. They find a way. They’re able to find the language and the actions to unite all people.

This is what we’re so proud of here at Siena College. This is what we do and this is why I believe and this is why this calling speaks to me.

I have had three professional lives to date.

First as a soldier coming out of Siena College, and that was very important to me. I believe in this exceptional way of life and was willing to put it all on the line for that.

And then I served in the U.S. House of Representatives, and that was also a great privilege. But of all the callings I’ve had this one is the strongest.

Because I believe at this time in our country, in our country’s history, we need Siena graduates now more than ever. And so, with a reverence for the past but with an eye on the future, we go forward today: Proud, very proud of our past, but also knowing that, here at Siena, our best days are still in front of us.

God bless you. Thank you very much. And: Go Saints!

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