Letters to Campus Community
Winter Semester 2009 Welcome
January 7, 2009
Happy New Year, and welcome to the Winter Semester at the University of Michigan!
I’m here in our Museum of Art, which has undergone a dramatic expansion in the past two-and-a-half years, and will re-open on March 28th. We are doubling our space and, more importantly, broadening our connections with the community. I know you’ll be amazed by the transformation.
As with the Museum’s re-opening, this new semester offers a range of activities and opportunities that feature creativity, academic excellence, and engagement with the world around us.
2009 is the International Year of Astronomy, and we are celebrating Galileo’s first astronomical observation with a theme semester on the universe. Sponsored by the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, elements of the theme semester can be found throughout the University, from presentations and workshops in our libraries, galleries, theaters and museums, to courses in history, physics, art, English, and, of course, astronomy. All will explore the sense of discovery that first intrigued Galileo 400 years ago.
We are celebrating stars of a different kind with the 25th anniversary of our Department of Musical Theatre, whose alumni consistently earn Tony Awards and nominations for their creativity. Year after year, students of the Musical Theatre program deliver amazing campus performances, and this March they will join with alumni to present a special anniversary concert at Hill Auditorium.
The U-M Law School begins 2009 with a celebration of 150 years of exceptional legal education. It also is preparing for its first significant physical expansion in nearly 80 years, with a new academic building to complement the quiet dignity of the Law Quad.
Nearby, the Stephen M. Ross School of Business is open for … business! The first classes are being taught in this stunning new facility, as some 270,000 square feet of space is ready for the business school’s students, staff and faculty.
When we talk about U-M faculty, one of the best is English Professor Ralph Williams, a Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year. In addition to his popularity in the classroom, Professor Williams has been a driving force behind the campus residencies of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Later this month, the University Musical Society will pay tribute to both the RSC and Professor Williams, who is retiring after this semester.
The new year also brings the University’s first-ever Semester in Detroit program, with students learning in and about our state’s most important city. Our students will live on the campus of Wayne State University, while taking classes at U-M’s Detroit Center and serving internships with community organizations.
From the urban surroundings of Detroit, to the wonders of the universe, and back here to the expanded splendor of the Art Museum, the new year promises to be engaging and enlightening for our community.
You have my best wishes for a rewarding semester.
Mary Sue Coleman