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Welcome Back to Campus

To:   University Students

Welcome back to campus! We have just completed a terrific year, and I am optimistic that the coming year can be equally great.

For the fifth year in a row, College applications set a new record, 11,678 applicants for the Class of 2011. This follows a year in which our University was listed as one of the 25 “New Ivies” in the Kaplan/Newsweek 2007 How to Get into College Guide and the Times of London ranked the University as 21st best in the United States.

The Eastman School of Music has embarked on a dramatic renovation of Eastman Theatre and expansion of its facilities. This summer the Eastman School of Music was recognized by Kaplan/Newsweek as the “hottest” school of music in the country in part because of its relationship to the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering. Our University was one of only three to be listed both in Newsweek’s 25 New Ivies List and as a category leader among the “hottest” schools in the nation.

Tomorrow, we mark a milestone of a different sort, as we launch the new logo, the cornerstone of the University’s graphic identity for many years to come. The ceremony (on the steps of Wilson Commons at noon) promises to be fun, but there is a serious purpose, too.

The power of our communications comes from their consistency and coherence as well as their content, and the graphic identity will contribute to that. So, come sample a “Spirit R” cookie, get a logo keychain, and maybe catch a new logo T-shirt as well.

Whether this is your first year here or your fourth—it’s my third—there is much at the University to be excited about. One of the most promising “new” projects has been 20 years in the making. Just across the Genesee River, the hotel, office, and retail complex known as Brooks Landing is taking shape. It promises to bring added vitality to its neighborhood while also serving the University. Along the riverbank just to the south of Brooks Landing, the Riverview Apartments will also be built this year. In the fall of 2008, they will provide close-to-campus housing for 180 students.

At Rochester, we say that your education happens both inside and outside the formal classroom. With that in mind, I would like to draw your attention to some particularly rich opportunities coming up this fall.

Next weekend, September 8 and 9, is one of the best, the Clothesline Festival, the annual outdoor art fair at the University’s Memorial Art Gallery. The festival offers the opportunity to enjoy performances of music and dance as well as a wide selection of art and crafts. Stop in and see the Gallery’s German Expressionism exhibit while you are there. It captures the various turbulent currents affecting Europe in the early 20th Century.

Every year, Meliora Weekend offers a wonderful combination of intellectual stimulation, wonderful athletic competition, and just plain fun. On October 18-21, we are looking forward to hearing a keynote by former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the Presidential Symposium on Faith Science and Politics, which includes as panelists recipients of the National Humanities Medal, National Medal of Science, Templeton Prize and Nobel Prize. There will also be the world premiere of a University-commissioned work by Tony Award-winning choreographer Garth Fagan. Fagan’s latest piece is set to a fresh, rhythmic score by Eastman faculty member Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon. This remarkable weekend also features an array of athletic contests and entertainment. I hope that you will be able to participate.

Our football and basketball teams are expected to be strong this year. The local highlight of the football season is the “Courage Bowl” vs. St. John Fisher. This year’s game (September 15) is at Fisher in Pittsford this year, so turn out and support the Yellowjackets. The biggest local basketball games, for both women and men, are played in the JP Morgan Chase tournament (January 8-12), which both teams won last year. Wear Yellow!

If you enjoy music, your biggest challenge may be making choices about what to attend. On September 28, for example, the Canadian Brass Ensemble joins the Eastman Wind Ensemble for a special concert. On October 17, there is a concert reuniting the Turtle Island Quartet and Eastman’s resident Ying Quartet. They shared an Emmy in 2006 for their album, “4 + Four.” Browse the Eastman School of Music concert schedule online. You will find performances that fit your taste, your busy schedule, and your budget.

Speaking of your taste, busy schedule and budget, I am delighted to note that the new Starbucks has opened in Wilson Commons. It is one among several results of Dining Services’ effort to listen to students about the offerings they want. I stopped in last week. The shop is spacious, it is well stocked with pastries and other offerings, including Fair Trade coffee, and the service is Starbucks.

There is one other new service I should mention. You will see a number of new, white buses running campus routes this fall. (They will remain white until we get some student feedback on new designs.) They are meant to make it much easier—and quicker—to travel between campuses and to shopping and entertainment. I hope that you will take full advantage of them to avail yourself of what each campus, and our city, has to offer.

Make this a special year. Challenge yourself academically. Try something new. Be an active member of the University community. And take advantage of the many riches that the University and city offer. I hope that we can all say next summer that we again had a terrific year at the University of Rochester.

Joel Seligman, President