Welcome letter to campus community
September 14, 2005
Welcome to a new academic year at the University of Michigan!
I first want to thank you for your wonderful outpouring of support for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. There has been an overwhelming response from all corners of the campus, with students, faculty and staff sending the same strong message: I want to help. From the thousands of football fans who opened their wallets for the American Red Cross to the patrons attending Sunday’s beautiful benefit concert by the School of Music and University Musical Society, I have been genuinely moved by — and proud of — your compassion and concern.
To date, we have admitted 47 undergraduates and about a dozen graduate students displaced by the hurricane, and I thank everyone who helped these students through the admissions and relocation process in a timely, supportive way. We are providing financial aid to these newest members of our community, as well as to U-M students from the storm-damaged states. And we have established a special relief fund to help students with tuition, travel, emergency funds and the like. These students are rebuilding their lives, and I hope you join me in welcoming them and supporting them in any way you can.
Every day brings news of ways to help, and you can learn more at: www.umich.edu/katrina.html. I encourage you to check the site regularly and refer others to it.
As we enter the second week of classes, I want you to know just how excited I am about the upcoming year. Our incoming undergraduates are among the most talented ever, and enrich our outstanding student body. Nearly 500 new faculty at all levels have joined our campus. Our schools, colleges, libraries and museums are offering an impressive array of programs and events that will engage not only students, but also the campus community. All of this energy surrounding the discovery and exploration of knowledge demonstrates what we call the Michigan Difference — what U-M first’s president, Henry Philip Tappan, called “an atmosphere filled with inspirations to thought, research, and culture.”
That atmosphere can be found in the College of Literature, Science, and Arts, which explores the legacy of Albert Einstein with a theme semester examining the impact of this great scientist’s findings on our lives. LS&A will follow with a Winter Theme Semester focusing on biological evolution and the many disciplines it affects. Our theme semesters exemplify the interdisciplinary strengths of the University and LS&A and present tremendous learning opportunities for students.
This will be a year of rich celebrations, including an October 14 tribute to the great playwright Arthur Miller (AB ’38) and his seminal work, and a Winter Semester commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the prestigious Hopwood Awards and their impact on American literature. Throughout the year, the School of Music will mark its 125 years at U-M with concerts and performances across the campus. Please join us for these special events!
We will open the doors this year to several new or renovated facilities that will help transform learning and research at Michigan. These include two notable structures opening in January that will play a critical role in our life sciences work: the Biomedical Science Research Building and the Undergraduate Science Building. We will solidify our outreach work in southeastern Michigan with the September 21 opening of the Detroit Center at Orchestra Place. We will celebrate the renovation of the William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center and its place in the life of students, who can enjoy the Center when it reopens September 24. And we will watch the ongoing campus construction of the Ford School of Public Policy’s Weill Hall, the Walgreen Drama Center, the Cardiovascular Center, the Computer Science and Engineering Building, and the expanded School of Public Health.
I am joined in leading the University by Edward R. Gramlich, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, who has returned to campus after serving on the Federal Reserve Board. I appreciate his willingness to take on this demanding job as we conduct a national search for a permanent provost. We have several other new leaders across campus, and I hope you will support them as they begin their new roles: Janet Weiss, dean of the Rackham School of Graduate Studies; Christopher Kendall, dean of the School of Music; Kenneth Warner, dean of the School of Public Health; Ronald Gibala, interim dean of the College of Engineering; and Deborah Ball, interim dean of the School of Education.
Finally, as we plunge into this new year, I encourage you to find time for the large and small pleasures that make life rich and balanced. Take in an exhibit at one of our museums or libraries, enjoy a concert, jog through the Arb, or stroll the Botanical Gardens. The events of the past two weeks have reaffirmed the importance of family, friends, good health, and service to others, and I hope you make time for all.
You have my warmest wishes for a productive and rewarding academic year.
Mary Sue Coleman