"When I say 'I', I mean 'we'. When I say 'we', I mean 'them'. When I say 'them', I mean not at all I!"
- paraphrase of G.L. Brown
Alistair Summerlee spoke yesterday at a celebration of his 11 year tenure as President of the University of Guelph. He started his presidency the same year I started my undergrad.
He quoted a friend of his, G.L. Brown, saying the above, which I took as regarding assignment of credit. If I say "I", it's really because of us but I'm taking the credit, and if I say "we" did it, it was really all the others but I still want some credit, and if I say "them" it's suddenly something I don't want to steal any credit for.
Summerlee then noted that for all the credit he received, it was really due to everyone else. He seemed honestly aware of the contributions of others and his own minor role in the universe. He was also sensitive to the impact of budget cuts on campus, and he acknowledged skepticism behind them. He overall seemed very human and humble.
They're renaming the Science Complex to the Summerlee Science Complex, which I like. Some of my friends hate it and him, but I feel like he hasn't been malicious, that he's worked honestly for the benefit of the campus community, so I begrudge him nothing.