Welcome back. I am honored to join you in this new and exciting period in our campus' history. In addition to the immense thrill of welcoming a new crop of students thirsting for knowledge and self-improvement, we are also looking forward to celebrating our 80th anniversary this year. The anniversary milestone is a fitting time to pay tribute to our rich institutional legacy, marked by the fine accomplishments of students, staff, alumni, community members and you - members of UPJ's talented and treasured faculty! As we embark on a new beginning, bursting with optimism about the future, I am particularly grateful for (and humbled by) UPJ's rich heritage.
It is therefore with a spirit of heartfelt gratitude that I welcome you to this new phase of our journey together. You have built an impressive institution. Thanks to the work that you perform year after year, UPJ has earned a reputation for excellence, symbolized in part by the accomplishments of students and alumni, the satisfaction of area employers and the accolades of many external organizations. Thanks to your dedication to excellence, as well as your indefatigable commitment to service, the University is a key agent of progress, creating pathways to personal/professional success for our students, transforming our communities and shaping the future of our region and our world. Thanks to your collective efforts past and present, UPJ is ensconced in an enviable niche: a close-knit scholarly community that is also a vital part of a renowned world-class research university.
To build on this tradition of excellence, I am inviting you to participate in a strategic review of our institution. This process of "Developing a Shared Vision Together" will be an opportunity to assess the efficacy of our institutional endeavors, explore untapped opportunities and update our strategic plan and priorities as appropriate. The emerging SWOT analysis should inform our choices and priorities as we seek to fulfill our institution's promise. Please go to http://campusservices.upj.pitt.edu/ to complete the survey"Developing a Shared Vision Together". Your responses, along with the views of other members of our community (staff, alumni, advisory board and external community members, etc.) will provide an indication of institutional priorities and will be most beneficial as I learn more about UPJ. This strategic visioning process should also help us refine undergraduate education at UPJ and further position our campus for greater excellence and success in the years to come.
As we enter this new era in UPJ's history, it is an honor to travel alongside you and to serve you. I am inspired and energized by fellowship with kindred folks that are perennially striving for excellence in teaching, scholarship, research, and service to humankind. I look forward to our robust dialogue about the pressing issues of our time and the dynamic role of the 21st century Academy. Therefore, it is with great pride and enthusiasm, that I welcome you back from your ever so brief respite; back again to build on yesterday's accomplishments to make tomorrow a little better and above all, to continue to enhance human capacity and society through the liberating power of higher learning.