This morning Founding Dean Janusz Kozinski shared the following message with Lassonde students as the School begins a new chapter.
Thank you, Lassondians.
The future of your School belongs to you.
Many of you will have watched my New Year Message where I urged you all to face your fears, push your limits and get out of your comfort zone in 2017.
Don’t be fooled by the smile on my face. I was petrified as I dangled on the edge of the CN Tower on the end of a rope, 1,168 feet off the ground in temperatures of minus 20.
It was also exhilarating, energizing and electrifying. I don’t regret the experience for a moment.
Today, I wanted to share with you a decision I have made to do something that fills me with even greater trepidation. At the same time, I am absolutely convinced that it is the right decision for me, for the School and most importantly for you, our students.
I have informed the President of my intention to stand down as the Founding Dean of the Lassonde School of Engineering.
I will officially stay as Lassonde Dean until June 30, and take a two-year leave starting July 1, 2017.
We will be involving you, our students, in the process to select the next Dean of Lassonde.
Between now and the end of June, I will be working very closely with colleagues in the Dean’s Office to ensure the transition is seamless and that your experience as a student here is unaffected.
Launching and leading this School has been without question the most extraordinary experience of my life.
There’ll be time in the weeks ahead to celebrate all we have achieved together.
For now, I simply wanted to share with you why I have taken this decision and why I believe this is the right moment for me, and in the best interests of all of you, to leave the greatest job I’ve ever had. This isn’t simply a job, it’s my life and my passion. Leaving Lassonde, and leaving you, is one of the hardest decisions I’ll ever make.
The answer is really quite simple.
It’s time to let go. It’s time for me to leave the safety and comfort of what I know, to challenge myself with something completely new.
I know many of you have experienced similar moments in your lives.
There is never a perfect moment to move on. There’s always unfinished business. There’s always a part of you that thinks you’d be better off staying put rather than risking it all for something unknown.
Many of you have left countries that you love. Many of you have left homes where you were surrounded by love, support and familiarity. Many of you took courageous decisions to switch universities or switch programs to follow your passions.
I’m sure you all knew deep down that change was the right thing to do, however hard it was personally. You knew in your gut that your instinct for change outweighed the powerful feelings of attachment to the people and places you hold dear.
It’s time for me to leave my comfort zone.
The Lassonde School of Engineering is now five years young. It’s ready to take on the world and prepared to explore it without the guiding hand of a loving, doting parent.
It may surprise you to know that the moments that mean most are where I didn’t do anything at all.
It’s the moments where I see Lassondians taking the lead rather than asking permission or seeking approval. It’s the moments where I see students come together to solve problems, to help one another and to take a risk on something others thought impossible.
Lassonde is a constantly evolving community of learning driven by the ideas, energy and creativity of each of you – not me. It is you, the students who will take this School in new directions that I could never have imagined or initiated.
You’ll soon realize that Lassonde will not only function without me, it’ll flourish. New faces, fresh ideas and different perspectives will give the School the confidence to go further and farther.
We love those who raised us and we are grateful (eventually!) for everything they teach us. We also know that we gain strength, confidence and a greater sense of self when we strike out on our own without their guiding hand. In life as in nature, letting go is the toughest yet most consequential act of love we must face whenever we help create something new. The same goes for Lassonde as a School.
Finally, for now, I wanted to say thank you.
I won’t have the chance to express my gratitude to each one of you in person, but I am thankful for everything you have given me.
Without you, none of this would have been possible.
You placed your trust on a School that was untested and unproven. I hope we’ve met, and perhaps exceeded, your expectations. I know we’ve made a few mistakes along the way and your experience as a student isn’t always perfect. What I hope you know is that my intention, and those of the team who will lead this School in the future, has always been to create a learning experience that’s challenging, creative and driven by your curiosity.
I’ve helped lay the foundations. Now it's your job to build a School community of learning that will outlast me and even outlast each one of you.
Don’t be shy to speak up. Don’t think your views don't matter – they do. Don’t be cynical.
Be bold and courageous. Be prepared to work with people who see the world differently. Be hopeful, trustful and positive even in the toughest moments.
Above all, always remember why we’re here at this School. We all love to learn. We love to learn more about ourselves, about one another and about the world around us.
Life always has highs and lows, few of which we control. What matters is that along the journey we all make through life we keep learning and stay optimistic.
Thank you, Lassondians. Serving as your Founding Dean has been the privilege of a lifetime.
Now it’s up to you. The future of Lassonde belongs to you.
I believe in you, and you must always believe in yourselves.
Don’t ever be afraid to follow the beat of a different drum. Be Lassondian.
Warmest regards, as ever,
P.S. Please stay in touch by following me on Instagram (notorious_JAK) - feel free to comment and message me - we are all Lassondians, together, for life!