Randall Seiert: A reflection on the 21 years that Marilyn Speedie served as dean

Randy SeifertIt is an honor for me to write the Dean’s Column for this year’s annual report, as this document is a reflection on the 21 years that Marilyn Speedie served as dean.

It was about this time last year that Dean Speedie announced she was going to retire. We are happy that our search for a new dean was successful and very pleased that our new dean will be Dr. Lynda Welage from the University of New Mexico School of Pharmacy. We are all looking forward to working with Dean Welage to continue our Minnesota, national and international mission.

For this column, I am going to speak from the heart about Marilyn because I know that many of you feel the same way about her as I do.

When I arrived at the College of Pharmacy in 2005, I did not know that I was about to develop a wonderful relationship with someone who would be my boss but, more importantly, my colleague, mentor and friend.

Marilyn is an excellent mentor who has encouraged me to dream, look for opportunities, turn ideas into exciting images, and to take risks. That encouragement doesn’t mean I did not need a well laid out plan that was agreed upon and met budgetary stipulations, but it did create innovation, one of the most significant attributes that makes this college the second highest ranked U.S. pharmacy school. She has always had a “go for it” attitude, and encouraged me to develop fresh ideas and approaches to problems, as well as to follow my passion.

One thing I greatly admire about Marilyn is her ability to inspire and build consensus. She is a very patient leader. I certainly appreciate her willingness to invest in people and to trust those whom she has entrusted. Even when things have not gone the way we wanted, we could always count on Marilyn to have our back.

There are many reasons why Marilyn has led this college and profession to so much success (which you can read about in the following pages). Her visionary leadership that has tied the College of Pharmacy to the profession and practice has become one of the most important values of our college. I think this is why we are so highly regarded as a college. Her vision to not just train new pharmacists but push to advance the practice has been important in positioning this college, our graduates and alumni for future success.

Marilyn will be leaving with a wonderful legacy of building this into a superb college with its high rankings, “One College, Two Campuses” culture, investment in faculty and staff, advancement of the practice of pharmacy, and positioning and advocacy for the college and profession. I am personally grateful for the past 12 years to have been part of this journey.

One day we shared each of our top five strengths from StrengthsFinder. One of Marilyn’s was Futuristic. The description of this strength is someone who is inspired by the future and what can be. They inspire others with their visions of the future. I think that says a lot about the kind of person and leader Marilyn is. Marilyn, from all of us: Thank you for your vision, leadership, mentorship and friendship. We wish you the very best always.

Randy Seifert

Senior Associate Dean