The 70th Annual School Session of the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado (GSBC) will end on July 30, coinciding with my retirement after serving as GSBC president since 2001. What a joy it’s been to have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people who care about community banking. I will always cherish the friendships I’ve developed and share with GSBC trustees, faculty, alumni, students and other supporters.

I especially want to thank Ron Kranz and Kyle Russell, the two past trustees representing the search committee, who convinced the board to offer me the president’s position. As you all realize, the GSBC staff members are outstanding and I am especially grateful for the support of Amy Blom and Josie Bunch, and Liz Lutz before them. Students, of course, recognize the GSBC faculty as proponents of community banking and typically remember them first when contemplating their GSBC experience. What a fun group of experts to learn from and work with as we’ve debated issues and opportunities and shared stories. I have absolute confidence that President-Elect Mike Stevens will carry on GSBC’s traditions and identify new and exciting extensions.

Finally, I want to thank all the students and alumni I’ve worked with over the years. As we’ve seen the competitive landscape in banking change, you have remained constant in your support of strong values in leading your institutions and serving your communities. Where would rural America, small businesses and other constituents be without your emphasis on local people, projects and growth options?

GSBC will always be an important part of my life. I have learned so much from my connection to all of you. I hope to continue to write and speak about community banking topics and will enjoy watching GSBC grow and excel. I wish you success in all of your endeavors.