Our Shared Journey: July 1, 2021

To the University Community,

I am delighted to join you at Case Western Reserve University, and I am honored to serve as its 11th university president. My past experiences as a professor, dean, provost, and university president have prepared me for this exciting opportunity, and I promise that I am ready and willing to help move us forward and tackle the challenges ahead. I also am grateful to be joined by my wife, Karen, who will be a tireless supporter of us all. I am eager to get acquainted with all of you—our students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, partners, and neighbors. You are the heart of the Case Western Reserve University community. 

This community has just passed through one of the most difficult times in our history. The hard work and sacrifices you made enable us to emerge into what we all hope will be a more normal time. We have tremendous opportunities to refine what we do and how we do it. As we move forward, your learning, your research, your breakthroughs, your innovations, your engagement, and your support will propel us along our shared journey. A shared journey that prioritizes and embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion every step of the way. A shared journey that balances discovery with sustainability. A shared journey that values facts and data, and the hidden—and sometimes not-so-hidden—stories they tell us. And a shared journey that advocates for social justice and promotes the common good. 

Our wonderful students, across all our schools and colleges, have remarkable talents and potential. Case Western Reserve University has long been a leading institution for academics and research—and I believe that American research universities like ours are uniquely responsible for preserving and nurturing the core of who we are as humans. Our research and teaching must be rigorous, sound, and at the front of its field. And our university must be a place that sparks innovation, as well as invention, and that applies our ideas to benefit society.

As a research enterprise, we must build on our successes, do more, and strive to be better. We must sharpen our tools and work closely together on the grand challenges facing the human race—feeding and providing health care for nine billion people, mitigating the effects of climate change, and many others. Of course, all the advances we want to make will require resources. We will need to make hard decisions about how we allocate the resources we have, and, importantly, how we inspire our friends and partners to invest with us in our shared journey.
I come from a career in public universities, in which the land-grant mission of service to the people of the state and the world is part of the DNA. You will see the same is true for me as we focus, combine, and amplify our connections to, and service for, the people of Greater Cleveland and of Ohio. I believe this connection reinforces the importance of our primary mission—to improve and enrich people’s lives through research that capitalizes on the power of collaboration, and education that dramatically engages our students. 

Thank you for this opportunity to serve as your president. I cannot wait to see what we accomplish as we work together to think beyond the possible.

Eric W. Kaler