From: Michael S. Roth []
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 9:57 AM
Subject: Welcome to Spring Semester!


Dear friends,


As the new semester gets under way, I thought I’d briefly mention some recent developments (all good!) that add energy to our efforts as we start the new year. With respect to staffing, we’re excited that Lisa Brommer has arrived to head up Human Resources, and we’ve filled all of the vacant CAPS positions from last semester, and expect to soon fill the new therapist position we’ve added, as well.


In Olin Library, construction has begun on housing and exhibition spaces for our wonderful print collection. As many of you know, we’ve also been planning significant facilities improvements to our science complex, the PAC, and the Center for Film Studies. Actually making these changes depends on fundraising, and over in University Relations a new campaign is in the works. Frantz Williams is now officially leading the charge there, with the irrepressible Barbara-Jan Wilson still waving the Wesleyan flag and advising us here in the President’s Office. 


On the academic side, our faculty have won a number of remarkable grants recently. Tsampikos Kottos, professor of physics, is leading a multi-institution initiative to develop the next generation of national instrumentation technology thanks to a major grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The U.S. Department of Education has awarded funds to support the teaching of Hindi and Urdu on our campus, and the National Science Foundation has awarded Wesleyan professors Lisa Dierker and Jennifer Rose a multi-million dollar grant to expand their effort to make statistics and quantitative methods courses more accessible and engaging. Professors Dierker and Rose introduce statistics to students so that they can have the confidence and courage to take these analytical tools into new areas.


The courage to extend their fields characterizes much of the research and teaching by Wesleyan faculty, and a shout out goes to Andy Szegedy-Maszak, the Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, who recently received a grant from the Onassis Foundation to teach Greek history to incarcerated students through Wesleyan’s Center for Prison Education. The final grant I’ll mention was awarded to the Center for the Arts by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to bring artists to campus—not only to teach, but also to work with student interns/apprentices in developing an original piece of art or performance. Can’t wait to see the results!


Courage characterizes much of our students’ work, as well. Last month I had the great pleasure of congratulating sixteen students from the Class of 2019, who were elected to early decision membership in Wesleyan University’s Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. At the induction festivities, I had the chance to speak with many of them—wow, they are impressive! I could go on and on here about the achievements of Wesleyan students inside and outside the classroom. I’ll limit myself to pointing out that both the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams are ranked in the top 10 in the national preseason poll (the women at #4 and the national champion men at #1). Lots of other examples of Cardinal pride in athletics on our website.


In addition to their academic and co-curricular efforts, our students express themselves courageously about a number of campus matters, from complicated personnel issues to changes with respect to Title IX. Finding practical ways forward based on values and ideals is always a challenge. Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an opportunity for all of us—students, faculty, staff—to think about the role of practical idealism in our lives. We have our own commemoration with Dr. Bettina Love tomorrow, January 23rd. The keynote is at 12:15 in the Crowell Concert Hall.


In conclusion, I’ll note Wesleyan’s new partnership with Eversource Energy that will help us use less electricity, another step on the road to achieving carbon neutrality. If you haven’t yet checked out our Sustainability Action Plan Progress Report, I encourage you to do so. The report summarizes the progress we’ve made toward sustainability and our vision going forward. Each and every one of us at Wesleyan is a part of this effort.


Being a part of Wesleyan is something more and more people want. Applications grew yet again this year: a record 13,303 young people applied for the Class of 2023! The growth in the applicant pool since Nancy Meislahn assumed her leadership role is truly astounding. She has helped the world discover what we already know: There is so much to be proud of on our campus. As our website puts it, “You make us Wesleyan.” That means you have much to be proud of, and I trust this is a source of energy to you as the next semester gets underway. Making Wesleyan is an ongoing, always-exciting challenge, and now it’s time to make Wesleyan 2019! Thank you in advance for your efforts.


Yours ever,


Michael S. Roth