December 17, 2007

President Snyder celebrates fall semester, promise of new year

Barbara Snyder

To the Case Western Reserve University Community:

As the fall semester draws to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the incredibly warm welcome I have received in these first days as president of your university.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of you at events ranging from student, staff and faculty gatherings on campus to alumni receptions across the country and in Asia. In every encounter, I have been engaged and inspired by your overwhelming belief in the university’s great possibilities – and your commitment to help us realize them.

My own optimism about this institution has roots both in these wonderful conversations and the impressive evidence of our excellence that has emerged repeatedly in recent months. In September the National Institutes of Health recognized the strength of our medical faculty, led by Dean Pamela Davis, in awarding a highly selective $64 million grant that will allow us to work closely with medical partners throughout the region. Weeks later the Department of Defense acknowledged Team Case and DEXTER, its self-driving robotic car, as one of the top 20 entrants in a competition that featured veteran teams from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others. Soon after, our Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing won its own sizable grant to create a national Center of Excellence aimed at researching ways to help patients better manage their own chronic diseases.

These are just a few of the literally dozens of noteworthy accomplishments our students, staff and faculty have achieved this semester. We also cheered the unprecedented success of our Spartan football team, the national eminence of our cross country program and tireless efforts of those who participated in Case for Community Day and continue to volunteer all year long. And, of course, we had the pleasure of dedicating both a new alumni house and the simply stunning space that today houses the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations.

As I look forward to 2008, I see even more reason for excitement. Led by Interim Provost Jerry Goldberg, our university is amid a bold strategic planning effort for our future. I want to thank all of the alumni, students, staff and faculty who responded to our recent survey related to that effort, as well as those within individual schools already thinking deeply about where they are now and where they would like to be. Creating a cohesive document that integrates each school’s priorities into a larger whole represents a significant challenge; doing so by June is even more ambitious. But I have full faith that our community is prepared to respond to this opportunity. Like me, you recognize that this institution possesses enormous potential, and that this plan marks an important step toward ensuring we make the most of it.

For now, however, I want to wish all of you peace and happiness in the rest of this holiday season, as well as an absolutely wonderful new year. I am honored to serve as your president.


Barbara R. Snyder