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From Where I Sit: A Farewell and a Welcome


As I look toward my retirement as General Manager on June 30, of this year, I consider myself very fortunate to have worked at WMUK. I say this for a number of reasons.

I've been fortunate to be part of a university that makes a positive difference through the education of thousands of students each year and through community outreach with WMUK. I consider it a privilege to be part of WMUK's efforts to serving a community known for its vibrant arts and culture. And I've truly enjoyed the opportunity to interact with enthusiastic WMUK volunteers, members and listeners on a regular basis for more than a decade.

If all of this weren't enough to make one feel good about what one does and where one works, there's another item to add to this list of treasures. I've been truly lucky to work with a dedicated staff that knows our region and knows public radio. As I looked around the room last week in a staff meeting introducing our new General Manager, Stephen Williams, I did a quick calculation of the experience in the room. I saw two staff members with around 30 years of service to WMUK, three others with more than 20 and several besides me with ten plus years. I should also point out that there were four others on our staff who have been here for less than five years. They bring a fresh perspective to our station and help provide WMUK with the right balance of youth, curiosity and experience.

To complete our staff, WMUK has hired our new General Manager, Stephen Williams, who will begin on July 1.

When I look back to the days before I began my service as General Manager of WMUK, two quotes come to mind. The first I noticed as I was seeking some words to guide my service in leading this station. As I stood before the grave of my son, Cpl. Mathew T. Bolar, at Arlington National Cemetery I found what I needed on a headstone slightly behind Matthew's monument. The simple six word epitaph I read on the tomb of Marine Corps Major Megan McClung more than served my purpose: "Be Bold, Be Brief, Be Gone". At five p.m., on June 30, 2016, I will consider myself all of the above. Although I will be gone as General Manager, I will continue to be a friend, supporter and a WMUK volunteer.

I also recall the words of my former General Manager, Floyd Pientka, as he handed off his role to me: "Gordon, WMUK is a sacred trust for the university and the community." I believed him then, and I do now. At my retirement event earlier this week, I repeated Floyd's words, turned to Stephen Williams and said these words to him: "And Stephen, now- we trust you."

I hope you will join me in extending a warm welcome to Stephen Williams, currently General Manager of WESM, as he moves to our community from Maryland's eastern shore.

-Gordon Bolar, WMUK

Kim Willis has worked in non-profit development since 2005 and joined WMUK in 2012. She works closely with the General Manager on special events, volunteer coordination, donor and volunteer communication, and fund administration.