Dr. James Hindman's last day as president was Thursday. So on Friday it was time for the official meeting of the new guy on campus, Dr. Joseph Rallo.
Dr. Rallo said, "Universities are like ecosystems. You can walk in there and within a minute you can tell pretty much how people feel and people felt upbeat, proud of the institution but also recognizing that as things evolve, put aside the Texas Tech issue, things need to sometime evolve and transform."
Rallo, who is still on reserve duty, came from an Italian immigrant family and was the first to be born in the United States. He said his family was big on education.
"Well my dad raised his hand during World War II and went into the Army and came back out and went to Columbia on the G.I. Bill and did his Doctorate there. My mother started out as a third or fourth grade teacher, I can't remember which one. I came her coming back, I was about eight or nine years old, and she says 'I hate them' and I said who are you talking about [she said] them, the students, I hate them. So she went back and became a Librarian. She got her Masters in Library and became a librarian at the New York Public Library, said Dr. Rallo.
He adds, "Yeah so everybody was from the education side of the family but not easy. In other words it was viewed you know you build on your grandparents, you come here and build for the next generation."
That hunger for education led him to Angelo State, his seventh campus since 1979. Dr. Rallo says he likes where the university is going, including the movement to the Texas Tech System, but acknowledges that there is more work to be done.
He said, "The number one is the transition. We have to be up and running by September one it happens. The second issue is the retention issue. In other words, we have an incredible number of highly qualified students, I think one of the largest freshmen campuses ever at the institution this year. They're here for a reason because it's a great place. We want to make sure they come back. Then number three which does tie into this are some of the construction issues on campus primarily Centennial [Park] because again if you're tripled up in residence halls, which is what we have right now, you know you may think twice about coming back."
Even though the shelves in his office are empty right now, they won't be for long because the new president is ready to hit the ground running.
"At the end of the day or the week or the end of the year, people should be able to point to things that have occurred in a positive way," he said.
Overall, Dr. Rallo wants students and faculty to know that he does not lead with an iron fist and his door is always open. Now he will spend the summer preparing for his first fall semester at A.S.U. One of his first priorities that semester will be helping students move into the dorms.