Welcome letter to campus community
September 5, 2006
Welcome to a new academic year at the University of Michigan!
The start of our academic calendar always brings with it excitement and enthusiasm for what awaits us. This year promises to keep all of us engagedf—intellectually, socially and culturally.
The most tangible sign of the University’s vibrancy is the array of new buildings under construction or nearing completion. In early October, we will break ground for the new C.S. Mott Children’s and Women’s Hospital, a state-of-the-art facility that will expand upon the quality health care delivered to the families of Michigan and beyond. We will also break ground this fall for a spectacular addition to the U-M Museum of Art, and an expansion of the Kellogg Eye Center that will provide new space for patient care and research. The extensive renovation of the Stephen M. Ross Business School is well under way. The doors are ready to open at the School of Public Health’s stunning new Crossroads & Tower Building. And we will dedicate the College of Engineering’s Ann & Robert H. Lurie Biomedical Building and Computer Science and Engineering Building. Many of our new facilities have been made possible by donors who support our Michigan Difference fundraising campaign.
We are particularly excited about the Oct. 13 opening of Joan and Sanford Weill Hall, the impressive new home of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. President Ford and his family are planning to attend the dedication ceremonies, and we are eager to welcome back our most renowned alumnus.
(Another president, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, who led Poland from 1995 to 2005, will be in residency at the University in late October. He will deliver a public lecture at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in Rackham Auditorium.)
In our classrooms, performance halls and lecture spaces, a busy, engaging year awaits us. The College of Literature, Science, and Arts expands its theme semesters with a year dedicated to “The Theory and Practice of Citizenship: From the Local to the Global.” Education and democracy are integral partners, and LSA’s theme year will provide numerous opportunities to explore the concept of citizenship through the lens of various disciplines. Highlights include a keynote address by professor and author Kwame Anthony Appiah of Princeton University, along with special events and activities at the International Institute, the Institute for Humanities, and the Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning.
Elsewhere around campus, the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning celebrates its centennial and its countless contributions to our physical environment. Our Ethics in Public Life Initiative begins its second year with roundtable discussions, lectures and theatrical sketches; the year’s first forum will be Sept. 20 and focuses on academic integrity. Block M Records is unveiling New Music on the Block, a competition for students to compose, perform and record their own works in hopes of a recording contract. And the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) returns for a three-week stay in October and November, when we will be treated to a series of fine performances by England’s Patrick Stewart and others.
The RSC visit also provides a sneak preview of the depth of arts and culture we will offer beginning with the Winter Semester, when we launch a year of activities focused on global arts and culture. A celebration featuring performances, lectures, symposia and special events, this series will help illuminate the impact of the arts on the human condition across boundaries and within individuals. With our strengths in international studies, cognitive and social sciences, and the arts, the University is an exceptional setting for exploring the world’s diverse arts and cultures.
Most important to our new academic year are the people who make Michigan such an inspiring place. The University is the new home for incoming students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as new faculty, from lecturers and clinical instructors to research scientists and tenured professors. We also are welcoming several new leaders to our campus. Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Teresa Sullivan joins us from the University of Texas system, and already has devoted much of her summer to meeting with the deans of our schools and colleges. Those deans include David C. Munson Jr., who begins his first year leading the College of Engineering after chairing the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Kathleen Potempa, who will guide the School of Nursing after heading the School of Nursing at Oregon Health and Science University.
Whether you are beginning your first year at Michigan or your last, or are continuing a stimulating career as a student, professor or staff member, you have my best wishes for a rewarding and productive year. Your contributions to the University are the heart of what we call the Michigan Difference.
William Shawn, the legendary editor of The New Yorker who was a U-M student in the late 1920s, knew well the excitement of Michigan. “There are other places, surely, for other people, but for me there is one place, Ann Arbor, for there it was I discovered what life’s bright possibilities were.”
Please join me in discovering this year’s possibilities!
Mary Sue Coleman