To the Case Western Reserve Community:

Our campus started to come alive last Sunday with the arrival of 1,360 first-year students and the launch of orientation activities introducing them to our university and the city we call home.

With that preamble complete, they will join more than 3,300 returning undergraduates this morning for the first day of classes—the moment when our lecture halls, laboratories and walkways overflow with energy and anticipation, and a new academic year begins.

While classes start also today for the majority of our more than 6,500 graduate and professional students, several programs—particularly those in health—began their years earlier this summer, or even in May. As a result, our nursing undergraduates have the honor of becoming the 14th and final student cohort to commence classes this year in our new Health Education Campus with Cleveland Clinic. Relocating the faculty, staff and students of the schools of nursing, dental medicine and medicine (including the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine program) presented an exceptionally complex challenge in itself. Doing it all in four months required precise planning, enormous patience, and an extraordinary amount of work by staff and faculty. We are deeply grateful to everyone involved, and look forward to seeing our innovative interprofessional education programs flourish in this stunning shared space.

This fall we welcome completion of another project: East Bell Commons, a 4.2-acre green space that includes benches, walking paths, outdoor event space—and the return of Phillip Johnson’s Turning Point sculpture, which was relocated to allow construction of the Tinkham Veale University Center. Bordered by East Boulevard and Bellflower Road, the site previously housed part of the Cleveland Institute of Art campus. The university and Cleveland Museum of Art acquired the parcel in 2013, and agreed on the landscape project as a temporary measure until our institutions determine the highest and best use of the space.

We also won city approval this month to commence construction on the second phase of the Maltz Performing Arts Center, which will include a 250-seat proscenium theater, a black-box theater, scene and costume shops, and faculty offices. We expect the work to take about two years.

Finally, I want to invite all of you to our Fall Convocation, taking place at 4:45 p.m. this Wednesday, Aug. 28, in Severance Hall. There, we will recognize Case Western Reserve’s newest Distinguished University Professors, and also hear from Paige Williams, the author of the 2019 Common Reading, The Dinosaur Artist.

I look forward to seeing many of you Wednesday. For now, I wish everyone an outstanding academic year.

Barbara R. Snyder