Letters to Campus Community
>Welcome Message from Mary Sue Coleman
September 4, 2007
Welcome to the University of Michigan’s 2007–08 academic year!
I want to extend a special welcome to new students, faculty and staff who are joining the University. You are now part of a community respected for its openness, its rigor, and its diversity of disciplines, ideas, cultures and personal stories. For all of us, these first few weeks always bring a level of energy indicative of the intellectual and cultural vitality of the University.
The upcoming year has an international flavor to it throughout our schools and colleges. Globalization makes it essential that we understand the world around us better, and I am impressed by the courses and events available throughout the University.
The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts is delving into the culture and society of China with its theme year, “ChinaNow: A Contemporary Exploration.” Through coursework, lectures, film and music, LSA, along with the Center for Chinese Studies and the University Musical Society, will showcase China’s burgeoning economy, rich culture and growing international influence.
Complementing LSA’s theme year, the U-M Museum of Art (UMMA) will unveil a unique exhibit of photographs and commentaries by alumnus and playwright Arthur Miller and his wife, photographer Inge Morath, from their travels to China. Unpublished until this January 2008 exhibit, the works cover 14 years of images and journal entries. (Please remember that UMMA is in a temporary location on South University Avenue during its expansion.)
In February, I will lead a University delegation to South Africa and Ghana, to foster U-M partnerships there and in Africa more broadly. We have great strength in the study of Africa: faculty have wide-ranging collaborations in South Africa, Ghana and elsewhere on the continent, and students have exciting opportunities through study abroad and programs such as the Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates. These ties, and Africa’s significance in the increasingly global context in which we live, study, and conduct research, make this an opportune time to explore greater engagement with Ghana and South Africa.
Australia is the destination of the College of Engineering’s Solar Car Team, which will race its vehicle, Continuum, in the World Solar Challenge in late October. Nearly 200 students from Engineering, LSA and the Ross School of Business will represent U-M in this 1,800-mile race from Darwin to Adelaide.
We are beginning the second year of Arts on Earth, the university-wide initiative that explores and celebrates the relationship between people and their arts worldwide. A highlight on Nov. 1-2 is “Arts & Minds,” an interdisciplinary exploration of the interactions among human arts, evolution, brains, health, and conscience.
There is, of course, an extensive range of events on the campus calendar this fall, and I want to highlight one special program. The University will pay tribute to our most distinguished alumnus, the late President Gerald R. Ford, with a campus-wide memorial service on Sept. 28. Few personified the integrity and leadership of U-M better than President Ford, and I hope you will join me for this program at Joan and Sanford Weill Hall, home of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
We have several new leaders at the University, and I encourage you to support them in their new roles. David Lampe is joining U-M as vice president for communications following leadership positions at the Harvard Business School, Boston University and MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Susan M. Collins is the new Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy at the Ford School; she is a highly regarded expert in international economics who comes to U-M from Georgetown University.
Two new deans have solid U-M ties: James O. Woolliscroft leads the Medical School following a 27-career as a faculty member, associate dean and interim dean, while Martha E. Pollack guides the School of Information after a career as professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the College of Engineering.
It is well worth noting that this fall marks the 190th anniversary of the creation of the University of Michigan. The founders envisioned colleges, libraries, museums, gardens and laboratories, and we have provided that and more for the citizens of Michigan, and beyond.
Across campus, several units are celebrating noteworthy individual anniversaries. The Medical School’s Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology turns 125. The Nichols Arboretum and Matthaei Botanical Gardens is celebrating its centennial with Sept. 29 festivities in the Arb. Fiftieth anniversaries are being marked by the School of Social Work’s Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Social Science and the College of Engineering’s computer science and engineering program. And the Residential College celebrates 40 years of its innovative living-learning environment for undergraduates.
As president, I am also marking a milestone: I have just completed five years of leading the finest public university in the country. As I begin my second five-year term, I have never felt so energized and enthusiastic about the power and potential of the University. Working alongside remarkable students, staff and faculty, I look forward to an exceptional year!
Mary Sue Coleman