President Michelle Patrick inspires students at Inauguration Breakfast


Photo Credit: Evelyn Luthringer

Ellie Whittington, Assistant News Editor

What does it mean to be the first female president of Robert Morris University to Dr. Michelle Patrick?

“This gives all of us an opportunity, an opportunity to reflect on how we got here. It’s been a hundred years, and look at where we are,” President Patrick said. “I think that it is more important to be the right president than just be the first female president, and that means focusing on all of you.”

The Women’s leadership and Mentorship Program (WLMP), Women in Business (WIM), and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) organized and attended an Inauguration breakfast on Friday for President Patrick to allow students to connect with their new president. President Patrick was joined by her husband, Ron, and her younger brother.

There were many speakers during the breakfast and many inspiring thoughts were shared. Laura Ruschak, the director of WLMP, opened the breakfast by saying, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. We cannot do this alone, we must go together and lift as we climb.”

Laura then encouraged the attendees to reflect on the people who inspired the attendees the most in their lives and share with others. President Patrick shared a story of her grandmother and how she was inspired by her.

Two WLMP students, Sarah Grebeck and Clara Gourley, then warmly introduced and congratulated President Patrick.

“President Patrick inspires us to see the glass ceiling as merely a stepping stone,” Gourley said.

President Patrick participated in a Q&A with the students and gave them great advice.

She shared about her journey through academia, her first role in administration as an assistant dean and then coming to RMU as a Dean.

“Be bold, be confident, and follow your dreams,” President Patrick said. “That’s it. You can do it. Each one of you has it in you.”

She also gave advice on how students can achieve their dreams.

“Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be humble and be confident in what you have,” President Patrick said. “Each one of you has so much to give; find what makes you smile and go out and do that.”

Rianna Morris, the WLMP student assistant, closed the breakfast with a few remarks. President Patrick thanked the students and organizations for coming to support her, and she thanked all of the women faculty for being inspiring leaders.

President Patrick will hold her inauguration ceremony at the UMPC Events Center on Friday at 1:30 p.m. and wants her students to be the main focus of the event.