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Progress with shared purpose

Over the past 15 months, we have developed and described a vision of what the University of Vermont can become — in sum, the nation’s premier small public research university — and now, I believe, we are moving with a sense of commitment and shared purpose toward making that vision a reality.

As we open the 2003-2004 academic year, the signs of progress at the University of Vermont are both abundant and diverse. Dean Robert Taylor, in his new role leading the Honors College, will spend the year ahead working with his faculty colleagues to shape this exciting new dimension of our University. Athletic Director Robert Corran and Associate Director Jeff Schulman have mounted four swift and effective national searches to bring in outstanding new head coaches to our varsity athletic programs. At University Heights, just west of Living/Learning, we’ve taken preliminary steps toward creating an impressive new residential complex, and we’ve recently selected an architecture firm for the vital University Commons project. These, of course, are but a few of the indications that we are on course and moving with both swiftness and care.

Of all things new and changing on our campus, none is more worthy of celebration than the Class of 2007. They bring great promise for themselves and for our University, ranking as one of the largest, academically strongest, and most diverse incoming classes in UVM history. As we seek to build our enrollments, we have exceeded our first year goal and brought in a class whose combined mean SAT scores surpass last year’s incoming class by nearly 12 points. African, Latino/a, Asian, and Native American enrollments are up as well, with 470 ALANA undergraduates compared to 420 last year.

In the year ahead, we will continue progress on the initiatives noted above and will focus on leading agenda items that include: drilling down an accountable planning process through all levels of our institution; advancing an energetic campaign to build and support a diverse campus community; strengthening and focusing our graduate programs; continuing to grow our expanding research enterprise (where we’ve seen a 35 percent increase in external awards over the past 24 months); integrating the Trinity College campus and sharpening our University-wide facilities master planning; and continuing to look internally to make our administrative and business processes as efficient, user-friendly, and cost-effective as possible.

When you receive this issue, we will have taken a major step on another key priority — building investment in our University — with the public launch of our Campaign for the University of Vermont. “Launch” is something of a misnomer, really, for a venture that is nearly halfway to its $250 million goal, built upon levels of generosity beyond anything ever seen at the University of Vermont. One of the defining principles of our campaign is that it is foremost about people — scholarships for students and support for faculty excellence. Nothing could be more appropriate, because ultimately our University is a community of people — faculty, students, staff, and the extended family of alumni across the country and throughout the world. I hope that you all will continue to share the spirit of pride and optimism that guides our work together for the future of the University of Vermont.

—Daniel Mark Fogel