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Updated 2:30 PM September 19, 2005
 

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  Letter from President Mary Sue Coleman
Welcome to a new academic year

I first want to thank you for your wonderful outpouring of support for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. There has been an overwhelming response from all corners of the campus, with students, faculty and staff sending the same strong message: I want to help. From the thousands of football fans who opened their wallets for the American Red Cross to the patrons attending the beautiful benefit concert by the School of Music and University Musical Society Sept. 11, I have been genuinely moved by—and proud of—your compassion and concern.

(Photo by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services)

To date, we have admitted 50 undergraduates and more than 61 graduate students displaced by the hurricane, and I thank everyone who helped these students through the admissions and relocation process in a timely, supportive way. We are providing financial aid to these newest members of our community, as well as to U-M students from the storm-damaged states. And we have established a special relief fund to help students with tuition, travel, emergency funds and the like. These students are rebuilding their lives, and I hope you join me in welcoming them and supporting them in any way you can.

Every day brings news of ways to help, and you can learn more at: http://www.umich.edu/katrina.html. I encourage you to check the site regularly and refer others to it.

As we enter the third week of classes, I want you to know just how excited I am about the upcoming year. Our incoming undergraduates are among the most talented ever, and enrich our outstanding student body. Nearly 500 new faculty members at all levels have joined our campus. Our schools, colleges, libraries and museums are offering an impressive array of programs and events that will engage not only students, but also the campus community. All of this energy surrounding the discovery and exploration of knowledge demonstrates what we call The Michigan Difference—what U-M's first president, Henry Philip Tappan, called "an atmosphere filled with inspirations to thought, research, and culture."

That atmosphere can be found in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, which explores the legacy of Albert Einstein with a theme semester examining the impact of this great scientist's findings on our lives. LSA will follow with a Winter Term theme semester focusing on biological evolution and the many disciplines it affects. Our theme semesters exemplify the interdisciplinary strengths of the University and LSA, and present tremendous learning opportunities for students.

This will be a year of rich celebrations, including an Oct. 14 tribute to the great playwright Arthur Miller, a 1938 alumnus, and his seminal work, and a Winter Semester commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the prestigious Hopwood Awards and their impact on American literature. Throughout the year, the School of Music will mark its 125 years at U-M with concerts and performances across the campus. Please join us for these special events!

We will open the doors this year to several new or renovated facilities that will help transform learning and research at Michigan. These include two notable structures opening in January that will play a critical role in our life sciences work—the Biomedical Science Research Building and the Undergraduate Science Building. We will solidify our outreach work in southeastern Michigan with the Sept. 21 opening of the Detroit Center at Orchestra Place. We will celebrate the renovation of the William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center and its place in the life of students, who can enjoy the center when it reopens Sept. 24. And we will watch the ongoing campus construction of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy's Weill Hall, Walgreen Drama Center, Cardiovascular Center, Computer Science and Engineering Building, and the expanded School of Public Health (SPH).

I am joined in leading the University by Edward R. Gramlich, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, who has returned to campus after serving on the Federal Reserve Board. I appreciate his willingness to take on this demanding job as we conduct a national search for a permanent provost. We have several other new leaders across campus, and I hope you will support them as they begin their new roles: Janet Weiss, dean of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies; Christopher Kendall, dean of the School of Music; Kenneth Warner, SPH dean; Ronald Gibala, interim dean of the College of Engineering; and Deborah Ball, interim dean of the School of Education.

Finally, as we plunge into this new year, I encourage you to find time for the large and small pleasures that make life rich and balanced. Take in an exhibit at one of our museums or libraries, enjoy a concert, jog through Nichols Arboretum, or stroll the Botanical Gardens. The events of the past two weeks have reaffirmed the importance of family, friends, good health, and service to others, and I hope you make time for all.

You have my warmest wishes for a productive and rewarding academic year.

Sincerely,
Mary Sue Coleman
President

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