Editor’s note: Want to see how the Class of 2022 spent their first week on campus? Watch our highlights video above.

To the Case Western Reserve Community:

headshot of CWRU President Barbara R. SnyderWelcome to the 2018-2019 academic year!

You probably read last week about our exceptional (and largest-ever) entering first-year class, but these 1,390 students are far from the only additions to our campus since last spring’s commencement.

We dedicated the Nord Family Greenway, started work on the East Bell Commons, and made substantial progress on installing new walkways throughout the Case Quad. We celebrated softball’s second-ever invitation to the Division III national championships, their march to a first-ever appearance in the finals, and their fifth-place finish in the tournament—the highest for any Case Western Reserve athletic team in history.

As promised, we also launched the Student Success program, complete with 15 navigators whose first assignment was to contact every first-year student for an introductory conversation, followed shortly by email outreach to every returning student. I want to commend the entire Student Success team for demonstrating such enthusiasm for the work and empathy for our students. I also want to extend my gratitude to the faculty who collaborated closely with the program’s leadership to help ensure that our undergraduates receive the help they need from both navigators and faculty advisors, as well as those 12 who have agreed to serve as an advisory committee for the program. In particular I would like to thank Professor Lee Thompson for agreeing to serve as the committee’s co-chair.

Finally, I want to highlight two truly outstanding leaders joining the university this year. The first is Venkataramanan “Ragu” Balakrishnan, who becomes dean of the Case School of Engineering Sept. 1. He comes to the Case Western Reserve after nine years leading the Purdue’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, a unit within the College of Engineering and the largest school in the university. Interim Dean Jim McGuffin-Cawley—who did an extraordinary job of maintaining the engineering school’s momentum for the past year—will continue in that role through this week. I cannot thank him enough for his dedication, insight and leadership.

The other is Ben Vinson III, who became provost and executive vice president July 1. The former dean of George Washington University’s Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, he has brought enormous energy and optimism to the role. We are hosting a welcome reception for him from 4 to 6 p.m. this Thursday, Aug. 30, in the Tinkham Veale University Center, and I hope to see many of you there.

With best wishes for a terrific academic year,

Barbara R. Snyder