Letters to Campus Community
Fall Semester 2010 Welcome
Sept. 7, 2010
Hello, and welcome to the fall semester at the University of Michigan! I especially want to welcome our new students, faculty and staff to our community of scholars and leaders.
Our new academic year marks the unveiling of the latest addition to the campus landscape: the North Quad Residential and Academic Complex. After 3½ years of construction, North Quad is open and home to some 450 students.
This spectacular facility also houses six media-related schools, units and programs, including the School of Information, the Department of Communication Studies, and the Department of Screen Arts and Culture.
The special feature of North Quad is its merging of academics, technology and residential life to immerse students in multicultural perspectives and ideas on world issues.
An emphasis on the broader world has long been a part of the U-M experience, including our historic role in the founding of the Peace Corps.
It was 50 years ago this fall that John F. Kennedy stood on the steps of the Michigan Union and encouraged students to serve others in the developing world. This fall, we’ll honor JFK’s inspiring words with a ceremony at the Union – at 2 o’clock in the morning on October 14th – 50 years to the moment of his famous talk.
It’s part of a full week of Peace Corps events celebrating five decades of service, impact and volunteerism by U-M graduates and thousands more.
Finding meaning in life is the focal point of this fall’s theme semester in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, which is asking the age-old question, “What Makes Life Worth Living?” The theme semester invites students to explore answers through reading, lectures, discussions, coursework and a host of other activities.
Our impact on the physical world is a key facet of this year’s EarthFest, where we will showcase the many sustainability programs at U-M and in the Ann Arbor community. Plan to visit the Diag on September 21st or North Campus on September 23rd, and you can explore what we are doing for the environment in the classroom, research and campus operations, as well as take in some live entertainment.
Arts and cultural activities have always been a hallmark at the University, and the next few months are no exception. Consider a visit to the Museum of Art and its exhibition of the rare and important collection of James McNeill Whistler’s work. This display of more than 100 works is one of the University’s most important holdings and showcases Whistler’s entire career in Europe.
Or make your way to the renowned Bentley Historical Library, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary with a display that documents the University’s history and influence. You can also mark the occasion at the “Made in Michigan” concert on September 26th at Hill Auditorium, featuring compositions from the Bentley’s music manuscript collections.
Finally, fall at Michigan brings the tradition and excitement of Wolverine athletics, and at the center of this is the unveiling of a renovated and expanded Michigan Stadium.
The Big House is once again the largest stadium in the country, with greater seating options, more concessions, and increased fan amenities. And not only for football, but also for Wolverine hockey. Come December, the Big House will host the Big Chill – a historic match between Michigan and Michigan State that promises to set a world attendance record.
Whether at a hockey game, in the Art Museum, or on the Diag. I hope to see you on campus. Enjoy the semester and everything it offers.