Our Dean and Houston Endowed Chair Miguel Angel Escotet will be retiring at the end of this Spring Semester
Dear Colleagues, Faculty and Staff:
It is with mixed emotions that I am writing to you to announce that, at end of this Spring Semester, and once we conclude our long journey for national accreditation, and I complete my deanship and teaching duties, I will be retiring from academic life.
I feel grateful and proud to have worked under the leadership of such exceptional people, as Juliet V. García, Alan Artibise, and José Martín, who acknowledged my contribution to this wonderful task of building bridges to the future, which we call education. I wish also express my gratitude for hissupport and guidance to a man of admirable integrity, doctor Gayle Brogdon, my associate dean, who is also retiring after a lifetime of invaluable service to our institution. For their support, patience, cooperative spirit, efficiency and dedication I always will feel indebted to Norma Infante-García and the rest of my staff. I feel fortunate to leave here generous and highly admired coworkers, members of my administrative team, colleagues, students and friends, as well as a community full of hope and love of social justice that have enriched my life and made my stay in UTB a rewarding experience to remember for the rest of my days.
During my 40 years of academic life —as student, faculty or administrator—I have always stressed the importance of ethical and aesthetic education in helping to develop a human being with integrity in contact with his or her humanity; a human being that can be compassionate in an enlightened manner; a human being, to quote the words of William Faulkner, “who will prevail because he has a soul capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.”
Today, I am convinced more than ever, that ethics is at the center of young people’s concerns: young professionals of all disciplines are leading powerful environmental movements, conducting studies on prosperity without greed, or searching for an economy suitable to a finite planet; and an increasing number of very young and very successful entrepreneurs involved in movements with the non-profit world, seek ways to create and share riches without depriving others of it. All of them feed my optimism because they represent examples of creative and ethical approaches to address social needs and achieve environmental restoration.
And, as of my prospects for the near future, I think that almost all of you will agree that life is full of awesome surprises. From time to time we find ourselves in front of opportunities that were once a distant dream in the back of our minds, but that suddenly become a reality. I am fortunate enough to have been appointed General Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for a leading financial institution in my other home country, Spain. In this new role, I will deal, among other responsibilities, with their major social assets such as their higher education and technology institutions, their art museum, and their corporate programs devoted to sustainability, health, child and elder care, and the alleviation of poverty.
For me, this is a fulfilling and challenging position at this stage of my life, perfectly in harmony with my philosophy and with my respect for the wisdom of those who dare to act with their brains without forgetting their hearts. The group I have been invited to work with refuses to adhere to the simplified and ruthless image so prevalent in the business world, and asserts that many of the problems we face today, from environmental degradation to unemployment, were and are caused by a vision too prejudiced, too narrow and disconnected from human life and the needs of a deteriorating planet.
In saying goodbye, I leave an institution in a process of change. Change is perplexing, upsetting, and gives us the false impression that we are living a situation beyond our control. But change is the essence of the universe, it is an incredible force that urges us to seek, to build and to learn new skills or perfect those we already have. Change is the voice that tells us that the future always starts today and that those capable of evaluating, analyzing, adapting and creating will be the ones to harvest the fruits of a new era. I will never conceive education in any other way. Education is meant to prepare the human being for ongoing change and even for the eventual crisis, which might arise as a result of the transition.
I wish it would be easier for me to say goodbye, but being from the land of Don Quixote, the wandering knight, I am used to, and consider a source of pride, to have friends around the world. ¡Hasta la vista, amigos!
Miguel Ángel Escotet
“TEACHING, LEARNING AND SCHOLARLY INQUIRY FOR AN INTERCULTURAL WORLD”