Yesterday, I caught my first glimpse of a monarch butterfly this season. Its orange and black wings were stunningly beautiful as it fluttered across campus. The beautiful butterfly was a reminder of the many stunning living things in our wonderful world. This particular butterfly was likely one of many monarchs engaged in the multi-generational, international journey from Mexico to the United States. Amazingly, my observed monarch butterfly’s ancestors likely migrated to Mexico last fall to spend the winter and reproduce. These incredible creatures can migrate as far as 3,000 miles to their wintering grounds. However, it usually takes four generations of butterflies to fly from the wintering grounds in Mexico back to the eastern United States. Even more astonishing is the fact that the monarchs do not learn the migration route from their parents as only about every fifth generation completes the migration.
The multi-generational migration of the monarch butterfly is truly remarkable, but even it pales in comparison to the splendor of the metamorphosis. The monarch butterfly begins its life cycle as a single egg being laid on the bottom side of a milkweed plant during the warmer months of the year. The monarch larva then hatches as a small caterpillar and begins to ferociously devour milkweed leaves. The caterpillar continues to eat and grow until it becomes time to do something transformational. The caterpillar then enters the chrysalis stage where it spins itself up in a silk cocoon while hanging upside down. This is where the magic happens. In around 12 days, the caterpillar is transformed from a long body with short legs into a butterfly with striking black and orange wings. The metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly is one of the most marvelous transformations in nature.
Like the magnificent monarch, Weatherford College has also been recently engaged in transformational activities. We have expanded and enhanced academics by adding both new bachelor and associate degree programs. We are building a state-of-the-art Emerging Technologies and Workforce Building. In the arts we became an All-Steinway institution, added a new jazz orchestra, and are currently expanding the visual and performing arts. As we improve our athletic facilities and add new sports, our athletic teams are collectively reaching new heights. We are also making much needed improvements and additions to our facilities and physical plant.
Both Weatherford College and the Weatherford College Foundation are also making marvelous fiscal transformations. Weatherford College recently became one of the only Texas colleges to receive a financial transparency star from the state comptroller. WC was also recently ranked as one of the most fiscally sound colleges in the great State of Texas. The WC Foundation has raised millions of dollars, established record high net assets, and is currently in the process of receiving the largest cash gift in institution history. New buildings are being donated, large estate gifts are being secured, and more students are being awarded scholarships than ever before.
The recent successes of Weatherford College have changed how we are viewed by others, and most importantly, have changed how we view ourselves. The metamorphosis of Weatherford College has revealed something of true beauty. Our people have become even better versions of themselves to the benefit of both our college and our broader community. We are now an institution better equipped than ever before to positively impact the lives of our students and the communities they serve. Like the monarch butterfly, Weatherford College is changing for the better. The marvelous metamorphosis has empowered us to improve the human condition, and we are just getting started.
Tod Allen Farmer
President, Weatherford College