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Dr. Lillian Abraham Schumacher Inaugurated as TU’s Sixth President

Spring/Summer 2017

Dr. Lillian Abraham Schumacher was inaugurated as Tiffin University’s sixth president Friday morning, November 11. She and her family have been affiliated with TU for nearly 25 years.

A graduate of Allegheny College with two masters’ and a doctorate degree from Bowling Green State University, Schumacher said, “I am honored and humbled to stand before you today. I couldn’t be happier and will remember this day forever.”

College and university presidents and representatives from schools around Ohio, including Terra State Community College and Heidelberg University, attended the ceremony. Also in attendance were C. Todd Jones, president and general counsel of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz.

Two past presidents – George Kidd Jr., who served TU from 1981 to 2002 – and Paul Marion, who served from 2002 to 2015, and his wife, Susan, were also in attendance. Both former presidents offered remarks.

“I have known President Schumacher for 24 years,” Kidd said. “When I first met her, it was clear, as it is clear to anyone who meets her, that she is bright, articulate, driven and ambitious. It was easy to see she would succeed both academically and as a leader. Over these 24 years, I have become more impressed. Because of her upbringing, she brings a far greater sense of the world than all of us who preceded her.”

“Many decisions were made during my 13 years as President of TU,” said Paul Marion, “and one of the best was the hiring of Dr. Ron Schumacher as a vice president and Dr. Lillian Schumacher as dean of the School of Business. Another great decision was the promotion of Lil from dean to vice president of academic affairs. They both did an excellent job as part of our leadership team and as valued members of the greater Tiffin community. I supported the appointment of Dr. Lil Schumacher as TU’s President and was very pleased when the Board of Trustees made that decision. She has the energy, temperament, intelligence, personality and leadership qualities to be a great president. My wife, Susan, and I will continue our support for TU, and we look forward to learning of all the wonderful achievements of this great University in the months and years ahead.”

Mayor Montz said, “You have a good one here. Dr. Schumacher has been a friend of mine for years, and I am excited to work alongside her to better this community. She is a big-picture thinker.”

Members of Schumacher’s family, including her parents, who traveled from Arizona, attended the inauguration. Her father, Dr. Midhat D. Abraham, offered the invocation.

Ron Schumacher, her husband of 28 years, said he has watched his wife live and accomplish her goals for 31 years and told the faculty and staff to have belief in their president. “She is a true mentor and an amazing wife,” he said.

The Schumacher’s have two daughters who have known Tiffin University for their entire lives: Allison graduated this spring from Ohio Wesleyan University with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education, and Elizabeth will be a sophomore at Allegheny College studying pre-medicine.

The Schumacher family’s connection to Tiffin University started in 1991 when former Tiffin University football coach Bob Wolfe asked Ron to coach at TU.

President Schumacher said she had watched the school grow while still holding onto its family-like traditions. She said she wanted people to hold onto the family environment, but also wanted them to grow and think from new perspectives. “Tiffin University creates ‘Dragons for Life’, this will always remain,” she said.

Her inaugural address focused on three words – purposeful, proactive and intentional and acknowledged there are challenging times in higher education today. The challenges include affordability, scrutiny, student diversity, student expectations and diversification of program delivery methods.

In her address, she quoted John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are truly a leader.” She challenged the audience to inspire others. “Students want more flexibility,” she said. “They demand more engagement and opportunities to learn in different ways.”

According to Schumacher, Tiffin University will focus on the University’s Guiding Principles as TU moves into the future, and a five-year strategic plan was executed this spring.

“A strategic plan is important, but culture is much more important,” she said. The strategic priorities include creating an environment focused on student success, growing innovative academic programs, optimizing Tiffin University’s organizational capacity, strengthening and increasing institutional financial sustainability, and strengthening Tiffin University’s critical infrastructure.

In addition, Tiffin University has begun a multi-year initiative spearheaded by Schumacher to enhance its approach to celebrating cultural uniqueness. “You have to have a plan with a cultural competence foundation,” she said. “Without a solid and clear foundation, a plan will never work. We will become an institution known for valuing ourselves and others, and we will do our best to develop our students to become globally ready to be successful in our world today.”

She also acknowledged that a plan such as this does not happen overnight. “We have to have patience, tenacity and endurance to stick to our plan; because all good things, all things that makes a true difference in one’s life, take a lot of effort and dedication.”

Dr. James Kennedy, former president and chief executive officer of Ohio Mutual Insurance Group, and Mansour Javidan, Garvin Distinguished Professor and director of Najafi Global Mindset Institute at Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, spoke of their relationships with Schumacher.

Kennedy described Schumacher as a strong, confident and take-charge leader, yet a tender and supportive wife to Ron and mother to Allison and Elizabeth. “She is as solid as they come,” he said. Kennedy said Schumacher is a woman of great strength while remaining ever humble. “We are ever so fortunate to have her at the helm,” he said.

Javidan described her as thoughtful, creative, curious and driven. “Her love for her students is a deep and genuine love,” he said. “She has passion for her students. Having passion is believing what you are doing and saying, and Lil’s passion is contagious.”