Welcome. Goodbye.

“As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin”
— Bob Dylan

I CAN’T REMEMBER A TIME IN EVANSVILLE when change has occurred so rapidly, both in our community fabric and those who are instrumental in shaping it. Welcome to Walter McCarty, new head men’s basketball coach at the University of Evansville. The former Harrison High School graduate, University of Kentucky player (we all occasionally err in judgment), and NBA player for 10 years has reignited University of Evansville fans’ passion with real excitement. People are anxiously awaiting the start of basketball season with unprecedented early demand for season tickets.

McCarty was known during his NBA tenure for hustle, gutsy play, and making big shots. Certainly coaching in the NBA under Brad Stevens, former Butler University coach (Go Dawgs) could only have a positive impact.

Goodbye to former coach Marty Simmons who represented the university well during his 11 seasons. Another program will be fortunate to get him.

Welcome to new University of Evansville president Christopher Pietruszkiewicz. Pietruszkiewicz comes to UE from the Stetson University College of Law, Deland, Florida, and will become president July 1. We look forward to welcoming him and his family to the community.

Goodbye to Dr. Tom Kazee and his wife Sharon. I will undo eight years of hard work and publicly say that I will miss them both a great deal. I have the great fortune (Tom’s misfortune) of living across the street from the May House, the president’s home. I have found the Kazees to be warm, genuine, and everything a university and friend could hope for. I see firsthand the obligations a president and spouse take on and appreciate them both for serving the university with dignity, grace, and class. I will certainly miss them both (briefly). Please, readers, rip this page out after reading and burn it. I don’t want these particular comments to ever surface again.

Goodbye to Dr. Linda L.M. Bennett of the University of Southern Indiana who retires this summer. Dr. Bennett spent 15 years at USI, with nine as president. A genuine leader with a terrific sense of humor, I first met Linda during a Reitz Home Museum Murder Mystery and was impressed that she didn’t seem self important, just a funny and kind person. A terrific community champion and tireless advocate for USI, she leaves a large void to fill. I am confident the USI search committee will get it right.

Welcome to new Chamber CEO Tara Barney, coming to us from the Quad Cities with a very impressive track record. Those who have met her and served on the search committee are quite effusive in their praise of what we are getting from our new Chamber CEO.

Goodbye to Christy Gillenwater, who certainly was instrumental in positively impacting our community during her leadership of the Southwest Indiana Chamber. She goes to Chattanooga, Tennessee, a very vibrant and larger market. As a frequent visitor to Chattanooga, I expect to see her again — but probably not if she sees me first.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Todd A. Tucker

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