As a longtime law professor, I love the power of words. A well-crafted brief can illuminate ideas and arguments in ways that reshape perceptions, provoke positive actions and, quite literally, change the way we live.
In recent days, though, I have come to feel new and greater regard for the strength of numbers. Last Tuesday, Jan. 7, Cleveland’s low of 11 degrees below zero broke a record that had stood for well over a century—the mark of seven degrees below zero set in 1884. Cold. Freezing. Frigid. Brutal. When it comes to conveying that day’s conditions, no term does a better job than the number: -11.
As we launch our latest annual report today, I find that many other figures carry significant effect. Our record-setting undergraduate applications total. Our overall ranking in The Washington Monthly. The number of physicians and researchers who come together each day to carry out the critical work of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. It turns out that 2012-2013 overflowed with data points that tell of extraordinary accomplishments. Thus, this year the report is titled Think by Numbers (case.edu/thinkbynumbers). I encourage you to visit the website, view the video and congratulate one another on an amazing year.
At the same time, as this new semester starts, I also encourage you to express gratitude to the faculty and staff members who have spent countless hours responding to weather-related challenges across campus. From burst pipes to sudden sprinkler showers, the historic temperatures have required herculean efforts to repair problems and relocate activities. I am profoundly grateful to everyone who stepped forward to manage these issues with such professionalism and aplomb. Your commitment to Case Western Reserve is beyond calculation—as is our appreciation. Thank you.