September 2, 2008
Let me begin by extending a warm welcome to faculty, students, and staff and an especially enthusiastic greeting to all of our new students.
Enrollments in all of our schools are on record-breaking paths. The College processed a record number of admissions applications and, for the first time in a paperless environment, believes it saved the equivalent of 150 trees! The response was strong, and we expect to enroll a freshman class of 1,140—the largest in 14 years. The College continues to make striking progress in improving the matriculation or yield rate to a level not seen in three decades while also increasing the number of highly qualified applicants with higher entering grade point averages and SAT scores. Members of the Class of 2012 hail from 44 states and 47 foreign countries.
The Simon School of Business will enroll 165 M.B.A. students in the Class of 2009, up from 119 two years ago. Simultaneously, quality has improved; in recent years, the average GMAT scores and grade point averages of entering students have increased substantially, and the Early Leaders initiative has been an important element in this success.
The Eastman School's matriculation rate remains consistent with its recognition as this nation's leading graduate school of music and as the "hottest school of music" according to the 2008 Kaplan/Newsweek College Guide.
The Warner School of Education's enrollment grew by 13 percent with several new degree programs, including the new Accelerated Ed.D. program and a "pilot" for a new M.S. in teaching and curriculum with specialization in health professions.
The School of Nursing's accelerated bachelor's and master's programs are experiencing increasing demand from a diverse applicant pool and strong and growing enrollment. The bachelor's program currently has 97 students enrolled; the master's has 42.
The School of Medicine and Dentistry enrolled a class of 104 outstanding M.D. students from an original applicant pool of 4,500.
It is going to be a terrific fall semester.
This fall's signature event is October 16-19 when both Meliora Weekend and Eastman Weekend take place. Headliners include Anderson Cooper, with the keynote address, "A 360-Degree Look at World Events." Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central's Colbert Report, brings his sardonic style and deadpan comedic delivery to campus. The Presidential Symposium on Great Issues of the 21st Century will address the question, "Can Individuals Make a Difference in the Developing World?" University trustee and president emeritus of the University of Chicago Hugo Sonnenschein '61 will host a distinguished panel that features Princeton economist Anne Case, former U.S. Senator Bill Frist, and Nobel laureate and Washington University professor Douglass North. These are but a few samples of the feast of intellectual, cultural, artistic, and entertainment activities for alumni, current students, their families, faculty, staff, and members of the Rochester community. The full program is available at www.rochester.edu/melioraweekend, and I encourage all to consult the Web site and to register soon.
Throughout the year, men and women student athletes in 20 varsity sports will take to the field, the court, and the pool in exciting competitions. To cheer them on, the Students' Association is launching its "Fill Fauver/Pack the Palestra" campaign on Yellowjacket Weekend with the men's soccer game on September 5. Student leaders are rallying fellow students, faculty, and staff to turn out in record numbers for specific games—one from each sport team's schedule in the fall and spring. Details are available online at The Hive, http://sa.rochester.edu/sa/, and in Weekly Buzz, www.rochester.edu/weeklybuzz.
The Eastman School of Music presents more than 700 musical offerings each year in its concert and recital halls. One noteworthy upcoming event is the Eastman-Rochester Organ Initiative's dedication of a 1776 Lithuanian organ in Christ Church in downtown Rochester on October 16. For information on this event and the many others at Eastman throughout the year, consult the Eastman calendar Web site, www.rochester.edu/Eastman/calendar.
The Memorial Art Gallery hosts its annual Clothesline Festival on September 6 and 7 featuring more than 350 artisans and craftspeople and a tantalizing array of food vendors. This outdoor festival on the grounds of the gallery is a very popular Rochester tradition not to be missed. While attending the art show, stop in the gallery itself to see the 3rd Rochester Biennial featuring the work of six exceptional regional artists or attend "Going for Baroque," a minirecital on the gallery's Italian Baroque organ. You can find information on these and other exciting MAG activities at http://mag.rochester.edu.
Our footprint is expanding! The new University Health Service building officially opened its doors in July. Located on the hill next to Susan B. Anthony Halls, this new facility brings together in one place all UHS services, including medical care, health promotion, physical therapy, the University Counseling Center, and River Campus MERT.
Riverview Apartments, the new student housing development on the west side of the Genesee River and near the Brooks Landing development, was dedicated in a gala ribbon cutting ceremony last month. The five-building, 120-unit complex on South Plymouth Avenue is now home to about 400 juniors and seniors. University shuttle service runs in a continuous loop between Riverview and Rush Rhees Library. Student residents of Riverview will be volunteer members of both the Plymouth Exchange and 19th Ward neighborhood associations and will engage in several community projects.
The Brooks Landing project, at the corner of Brooks and Genesee streets, is moving along rapidly. The new extended-stay Staybridge Suites hotel is slated to open in October; the new coffee shop, managed by Boulder Coffee, will open its doors this fall, and a new office and retail complex that will house several University offices began construction this summer and is scheduled to be completed next spring.
"Gmail," successor to the earlier student e-mail system, made its debut on August 5. University IT, in collaboration with Google, is providing this new student e-mail service to all undergraduates as well as Eastman graduate students. The service offers students 6 GB of e-mail storage as well as an enhanced mail search feature and Instant Messenger chat integration, access to Google's documents features, and full calendar features. Additional information about the new service is available at www.rochester.edu/its/urgmail.
We are joined this year by three new University leaders. Kathy Parker, formerly on the nursing faculty at Emory University, has become dean of the School of Nursing; Robert Clark, former dean of Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering, has joined us as our new dean of the School of Engineering; and Susan Gibbons has been named Neilly Dean of River Campus Libraries and vice provost.
The University of Rochester is on the move. I hope you can feel the spirit and the energy of the many initiatives that are under way. All of you—faculty, students, and staff—are part of our success. Best wishes to all as we begin another exciting school year.