Southwesterns summers can be fairly quiet, but not the summer of 2008. Our campus is buzzing with activity as we watch construction of the new Wilhelmina Cullen Admission Center and as we renovate two of our residence halls, Herman Brown and Moody-Shearn, in time for the start of fall classes.
These construction projects are daily reminders of the results from our $125 million fundraising program: Thinking Ahead: The Southwestern Campaign. As we approach $90 million raised to date, the only question is how our lagging economy may affect whennot ifwe meet the $125 million goal. With your support, we will accomplish this milestone. I look forward to updating you as we continue to transform the Southwestern Experience through the many important commitments that have been made to Thinking Ahead:
Since embarking on the Campaign in 2002, we have completed much-needed renovations, enhancing the Southwestern we know and love and adapting to the needs of the new millennium. In all of our efforts we are mindful of the impact of our campus on the environment, as youll see in LEED-ing the Way.
A push for achieving distinction among the nations premier liberal arts institutions has resulted, through the campaign, in the hiring of 18 additional faculty members, the broadening of our curricular offerings and ensuring an average class size of just 14 students. This spring, the faculty proposed a new Core Value, Cultivating academic excellence, which was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees and added to our existing core values.
Senior Stories powerfully demonstrate how academically talented and broadly curious our students are, and how much they give back to the Southwestern community, as well as their contributions to the common good. Seven of our 10 seniors featured are Paideia® Scholars, the program launched at the beginning of Thinking Ahead that, for Southwestern, has come to redefine what is at the core of liberal arts education.
As I reflect back on this years Commencement and the meaning of this education to graduating seniors and their families, I am grateful to receive letters such as the one featured in Last Word. Southwestern parent Pamela Vonderheide underlines the importance of scholarships in helping us recruit bright and talented students, including her daughter, Kristen. Gifts to the campaign for scholarships keep the university both affordable and also competitive as we vie for those students who will benefit most from the Southwestern Experience: Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives.
I look forward to welcoming the Class of 2012 this fall.
Jake B. Schrum 68
President, Southwestern University