Miami University President Gregory Crawford has only been on the job since July, but he's already fallen hard for the university and Oxford. He shares some of his story and hopes for his tenure.
1. What is your hometown and your favorite thing about growing up there?
I was born and raised in Elyria, Ohio. It was a relatively small town and close-knit community – easy to navigate and easy to know your neighbors.
At that time, there were a lot of children in the neighborhood so there was always much to do – a pick-up game here or there.
It was also wonderful growing up approximately 30 miles outside of Cleveland and being a Browns, Indians, and Cavs fan. The Cavs’ Championship this year was phenomenal – it was the city’s first sports championship in my lifetime.
2. What's the hardest job you ever had?
Well, this question is a bit difficult.
Although higher education jobs are challenging, I am passionate about the academy. When you love your job it’s impossible to characterize it as hard. The hardest job I had during summers in college was working at a local nursery, planting and carrying around trees and shrubs all day long. Now that was a tough job – physical labor and a lot of sore fingers and muscles!
3. What's your favorite junk food?
I will have to prioritize my list – chocolate is definitely my weakness, but runners-up include BBQ potato chips, pizza and mint chocolate chip ice cream from Graeter's.
4. What food can you not stand?
Just about everything green. My wonderful wife, Renate, often makes me drink her kale smoothie drinks. I have to hold my nose to get them down.
5. What's your secret talent?
I like to ride my bike – I can ride all day long. I rode across the country five times to raise money for a rare disease called Niemann-Pick Type C, or NPC. Over a five-year period, I rode nearly 15,000 miles, not including training.
6. Name an item on your bucket list
Since it’s too late for me now to make the big leagues and pitch for the Cleveland Indians, I would like to go skydiving – but I am afraid of heights.
7. What's your favorite joke, suitable for a family publication?
I am a physicist, so here you go – Where does bad light end up? In a prism!
8. What about Miami makes you proudest?
That is easy – Miamians.
Miami is a beautiful campus and has a great physical infrastructure; everyone who visits talks about how beautiful it is. But it’s not the tangible infrastructure, buildings, or quaint town of Oxford that make Miami so attractive, as wonderful as they are. It’s the warm and welcoming community, the Miamians’ passion, and the way they live their lives through Love and Honor.
I have great interest in virtuous and servant leadership, so I take great pride in (Miami’s Code of) Love and Honor. Miami graduates the world over greet each other with “Love and Honor,” and our Code of Love and Honor emphasizes our respect for others, character, intellect, integrity and the dignity of all.
9. What's the biggest piece of unfinished business you'd like to accomplish during your tenure?
I have just started, so I only have about two months under my belt. There is so much to look forward to at Miami – it is an absolute gem of a university. As I get out and about in the coming months to learn the new environment, I will be listening to learn how we can build upon our extraordinary reputation in academics and advance diversity and inclusion.
Bonus question: Something else readers would be interested to know about you?
I am a dog lover, especially Golden Retrievers. I’m an animal lover in general except for cats. Not that I have anything against cats, but they make me sneeze.