Some University of Connecticut students like to longboard at dangerous speeds down hills. Some use electrified skateboards to cruise down Fairfield way. Thomas Katsouleas prefers a calmer ride.
Our new president won’t be competing in the X Games any time soon, but his arrival at the Rec Center grand opening Sunday — on a skateboard, if you haven’t seen the video yet — is a bright sign of what’s to come. TomKat, as he is affectionately known around The Daily Campus office, seems affable and committed. He brings a certain panache, a contagious energy that is currently permeating all things UConn.
Katsouleas’ persistent presence is making an excellent first impression. It was heartening to see him out and about on Freshman move-in day and leading the charge into our new Rec Center. He has become quite active on Instagram, posting pictures of himself posing with Charlie the Fish on move-in day and flexing with students in the Benton. He has, however, not yet followed @TheDailyCampus on Instagram. Tom, if you’re reading this, smash that follow button.
Tom also brings a serious agenda to UConn. Entrepreneurship, engineering and cross-disciplinary collaboration look to be on the docket (https://ctmirror.org/2019/08/14/uconn-presidents-goals-expand-research-and-entrepreneurship-mitigate-pension-liability/). He has promised to double the research dollars flowing into the university and emphasizes turning those research dollars into tangible social and economic benefits for Connecticut.
He has a long track record in academia, from UCLA to USC to Duke to UVA, where he founded multiple institutes focused on solving real-world problems (https://www.courant.com/education/hc-news-thomas-katsouleas-uconn-president-20190201-4hzj36in5jcn7eyjuvzs5ss4tu-story.html).
But ultimately, it’s his attitude that makes us — and many of our fellow UConn students — so hopeful. Earlier Monday, Tom was walking down Fairfield Way with a huge smile on his face, waving to students and wishing them luck in the new school year. After that, he stopped to Instagram himself rubbing (statue) Jonathan’s nose. That’s Big Prez Energy. Cheers to Tom — we can only hope the rest of his tenure is this rosy.