In my remarks in art/sci and elsewhere, I regularly try to convey the magnitude of the positive changes occurring at the university and my pride in our many accomplishments. On occasion, I also have the gratifying opportunity to view our progress through the eyes of others.
Such an opportunity presented itself early this fall, when I invited a group of alumni to spend a weekend in Cleveland as the college’s guests. Some had graduated from the university decades before, and this was their first time back in many years. It was wonderful to observe their reactions as they toured the campus and marveled at the Tinkham Veale University Center, the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at The Temple–Tifereth Israel and the newly restored exteriors of three historic buildings—Guilford House, Clark Hall and Haydn Hall—on the Mather Quad.
When I asked our guests afterward how they would persuade other alums to return for a visit, one of them responded by saying, “You will never believe how visually awesome your alma mater has become.” Another replied, “The university is thriving alongside all the wonderful institutions that have always been there. University Circle and CWRU have made amazing strides in recent years. And you have to see it to believe it!”
The tour, however, was only part of their experience. The alumni met the current department chairs in their fields of study and learned how the college today is fulfilling its commitment to world-class research and education. They heard about the extraordinary success of our undergraduate recruitment efforts, which have enabled us to increase both the size and the quality of our entering classes. They talked with students whose academic performance, devotion to research and engagement in college and community life indicate the caliber of the young people we are now attracting to the university.
Finally, I discussed with the alumni our vision for the future of Case Western Reserve and the efforts we are making to realize it. Let me highlight two of those efforts here. First, we have developed a campus master plan that calls for major renovations of our Mather Quad facilities, completion of Phase Two of the Maltz Performing Arts Center project and construction of a new science and engineering building on the Case Quad. These initiatives will provide us with the physical infrastructure we need to support the college’s mission for decades to come.
Second, with leadership from the College of Arts and Sciences, the Provost’s Commission on Undergraduate Education has undertaken a once-in-a-generation reassessment of what constitutes a Case Western Reserve education. What are our aspirations for our students? How can we best prepare them to flourish and become a force for good in the world? In seeking answers to these questions, the commission will foster discussions across the university about curricula, experiential learning, undergraduate advising, and campus culture and environment. I look forward to these discussions and to a dynamic future for the College of Arts and Sciences.
Cyrus C. Taylor
Albert A. Michelson Professor in Physics