Welcome back to campus

08-20-2007

The week before classes start, when new freshmen move into their residence halls and returning students reunite with friends and classmates, is an exciting time on Michigan State’s campus. I look forward each year to Fall Welcome, a week when the campus comes alive again after a busy summer spent preparing for the beginning of another academic year. I enjoy having the opportunity to talk with students and their families on move-in day and to help them get settled into their new homes-away-from-home.

The week is filled with many activities to help orient new students and bring our entire Spartan community together as we embark on the new school year. On Tuesday I will welcome our new faculty members during their orientation, and on Thursday Provost Wilcox and I, along with other academic leaders, will welcome first-year students to MSU during a ceremony at the Wharton Center, introducing them to the values and standards that make MSU an exceptional learning environment. This year’s class of incoming freshmen—nearly 7,200 strong—will represent a diverse and remarkably global group with approximately 35 percent more enrolled international students than last year’s class. The class of 2011 has students representing 79 Michigan counties, 49 states and 49 foreign countries.

The welcome ceremony also will feature a presentation from and discussion with Susan Carol McCarthy, author of “Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands,” the book featured in our 2007 “One Book, One Community” program. The program reflects our ongoing commitment to enhancing our relationship with our East Lansing neighbors.

Thursday evening is a time for new and returning students to get together at the Breslin Center to honor Michigan State’s proud history and traditions during Spartan Spirit. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., we will celebrate our Spartan Pride along with Sparty, the MSU Marching Band, community members, and many of the coaches and student-athletes. For incoming freshmen, this is a great opportunity to learn the words to our storied fight song and the cheers you’ll hear during our many team sporting events all year long.

This fall, in addition to launching a new school year, we are also beginning the celebration of MSU’s Year of Arts and Culture. The Year of Arts and Culture recognizes the central role arts and culture play in nurturing the human spirit and in preparing students for a global world. It comprises activities that involve all arts and culture units and academic programs, cut across multiple disciplines, enrich the student experience, align with local economic development efforts and engage the community. I encourage you to visit the Year of Arts and Culture Web site to learn more about this exciting celebration.

Fall Welcome is a huge endeavor every year and I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to thank everyone on Team MSU for their efforts—the staff, students, faculty and volunteers who have dedicated much time and energy to make sure our students and new faculty get settled on campus.

I hope you will check this forum frequently to find out what’s on my mind, but also to let me know what’s on yours. At MSU, we are committed to the value of inclusion and to building a welcoming community. We encourage a full spectrum of experiences, viewpoints and intellectual approaches because it enriches the conversation and keeps us moving forward. I hope you will take the time to share your thoughts about your experiences at MSU and your ideas for this university and its future by e-mailing me at presmail@msu.edu.

To the new students, faculty and staff, enjoy your first week on campus and welcome to Team MSU. And to everyone, let’s make 2007-08 a year of intellectual and personal growth as well as fond memories.

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