Junior Will Tate Takes on Role of USD's President for a Day

What exactly is it like to be president of a university? On April 12, Will Tate got to find out. A junior accounting and theology double major, Tate was selected from among 58 undergraduate applicants to trade places with President Harris for a day. On campus, Tate participates as a member of the Black Student Union, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Black Campus Ministry, and as a mentor at Student Support Services. He also works with the Pancake Ministry at the nonprofit Fill-a-Belly.

President Tate began his unforgettable day at 8:30 at the President's office.

President for a Day 2016

He met with Vice President of Facilities Management and Athletics, Ky Snyder, about USD's campus master plan. Tate and Terry Kalfayan, USD's vice president of finance and CFO, spoke about the rationale for student tuition increases. Tate then met with Minh-Ha Hoang, USD's director of admissions and enrollment, to review prospective students who are on admissions' waiting list. An open dialogue followed with Tate, Vice President of Student Affairs' Carmen Vazquez, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs' Cynthia Avery, Assistant Provost of Inclusion and Diversity and Professor Esteban del Rio and Barbara Lougee, assistant dean for the School of Business. Their discussion focused on collaborative ways to build a campus culture where all feel valued, respected and supported.

Tate had lunch and conversation with Linda Vista community leaders Tom and Janet Kaye, Margarita Castro, Kimberly Weber and Thomas Cleary, USD's senior director of Community and Government Relations.

After lunch, he and Cleary met with City Council members and Tate had the chance to address them. He returned to campus to accompany University Relations Vice President Tim O'Malley for a donor solicitation. Tate's day as USD President concluded with an interview with The USD Vista student newspaper.

He then reverted back to being a USD student, attending his 5:30 p.m. class, Theology 394: Black and Womanist Theology, and was joined by his "classmate," President Harris.

For Tate, the chance to serve in a leadership role was both eye-opening and gratifying. In many ways, he was able to channel the traits he's passionate about when describing what a leader needs to have to be productive. "I believe some of the greatest characteristics of a leader are humility, authentic love and boldness," he said.

The one-day role reversal is something Tate won't soon forget. Days later, people are still coming up to him on campus to call him "Prez."