It has been an incredibly colorful fall not only in our foliage, but in the variety of activities and accomplishments on this campus. We began the semester with a shotgun start as we teed off for the record-breaking Golf Scholarship Classic, raising over $50,000 for student scholarships. We have broken ground for Becky's Place at Pratt Commons with the announcement of our second $1 million dollar gift. Steinway & Sons officially conferred to the College our "All-Steinway" status with a superb concert by distinguished artist Jeffrey Siegel. We secured 1.2 billion year-old rock samples from a local construction site thanks to Drs. Neal O'Brien and Rob Badger in Geology. The campus welcomed Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra for a session of jazz at Maxcy Hall. Visitors from National Taipei University were welcomed by our Department of Business Administration. Women's hockey club faced-off last Friday night and the Tony Award winning musical comedy Urinetown (a less than mellifluous name, but it did win a bunch of Tony Awards) is being presented by the Department of Theatre and Dance along with The Crane School of Music, November 8 through 11.
Sadly, with the coming of fall we also grieved the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Anne R. Malone. The many areas of campus in which she was a major contributor are working hard to recover. We were all graced to have known her. She is and will continue to be very much missed.
I want to quickly update you on the status of construction across campus. The academic quad renovations are complete with the exception of making sure that any cracks, corners and missing capstones are finalized and up to campus standards. We can cross campus again without a lot of orange fences. The Pratt Commons/Becky's Place construction is on schedule so far. Obviously our apologies go out to students and faculty who are inconvenienced by the construction. The noise outside our offices and classrooms can be disconcerting. But the end result will surely be a terrific addition to our campus. The project to renovate classrooms, labs, studios and offices has begun; classroom assessment is in progress so that the first upgrades can be scheduled for winter recess, spring, and summer 2008. The project is scheduled to take six years and cost at least $2.5 million.
With the decision to transition to the reduced instructional workload, most departments have been working out their strategies. The Provost and Deans have kept me informed about the progress. I have also had a chance to meet with several departments to discuss this and other topics. I know that the transition will carry with it a whole host of issues. Fortunately, we have an excellent faculty and a widely recognized desire to change the instructional workload. This endeavor will be a credit to our trust in shared governance.
This year we will be using the new budget development model. Deans and directors shortly will be developing budget requests for the next fiscal year. At present, we do not project that the budget will grow much next year, unless the Legislature either increases state spending on higher education or allows a tuition increase. Nevertheless, it is important to prioritize our needs to allow us to plan strategically for the future. Requests from deans and directors will be evaluated by the individual vice presidents in February, so that by March the Administrative Cabinet can begin to look at the whole campus priorities.
Crumb Library is turning 40 and on November 13th at 4:00 we will be celebrating in the library with a giant cake. Our library professionals efficiently manage nearly half a million transactions a year, including just interlibrary loan, circulation, electronic resources, and reference. In addition to that they provide superb service to every person walking through the door seeking instruction and assistance. Our library faculty and professionals are truly remarkable and yet another example of the tradition of the handcrafted education that we provide to our students. It is time to celebrate the facility and say "thank you" to the people who make it work.
Plans have been confirmed for a wonderful Holiday Gala to benefit Children and the Arts. We are raising funds for our very own Department of Theatre and Dance, which has many outreach programs for children, and for the CPS Meet the Arts program for children. The gala is scheduled for Sunday, December 16, 2007 at Maxfield's Restaurant, from 4 -- 7 pm. Anne and I will host the event and we hope you will all consider joining us in support of this very worthy cause. Promoting Children and the Arts is not only integral to our college mission, but also to our regional mission.
As always, this just scratches the surface of the many campus activities of note. I encourage everyone to take advantage of the many concerts, performances, athletic events, lectures, book series, and programs we have as we move into the second half of the semester. Stay warm as we all anticipate the exhilarating chill of winter.