art | sci magazine

Navigation + Search

Dean’s Message

Reaffirming Our Mission

Published in spring 2015

Dean Cyrus C. Taylor. Photo by Daniel Milner.

Dean Cyrus C. Taylor. Photo by Daniel Milner.

Now that spring is well underway, many of us would like to forget the harsh winter that preceded it. But one gratifying memory from that season has stayed with me. On Feb. 16, more than 1,200 prospective students and their families braved record low temperatures to attend the Presidents Day Open House at Case Western Reserve. I hadn’t expected to see so many young people attending information sessions, observing classes and touring the campus, undeterred by the weather. But I shouldn’t have been surprised. If these students are anything like the undergraduates I have known during my years at the university, they aren’t deterred by anything.

At a time of intense debate about the meaning and value of higher education, the sight of these hopeful visitors —intelligent, curious, enterprising—was immensely reassuring. I couldn’t say how many of them would return as members of our next entering class. But I did reflect on the nature of the institution that had drawn them here. What does a comprehensive research university—and this university in particular—have to offer them? And what does it have to offer society and the larger world?

This issue of art/sci offers several answers to these questions. It reminds us of the contributions the College of Arts and Sciences makes to scientific knowledge, historical understanding and cultural vitality. It also illustrates our success in extending opportunities to students and preparing them to excel in their fields and bring about positive change in their communities.

Recently, two longtime benefactors have reaffirmed the critical importance of the humanities to our university’s educational and scholarly mission. Jane Nord (GRS ’76) and the Eric and Jane Nord Family Fund have endowed a professorship whose occupant directs the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, which Eric and Jane Nord established almost 20 years ago. University trustee Thalia Dorwick (FSM ’66, GRS ’73) has chosen Case Western Reserve as the recipient of a major gift to foster innovation in foreign language teaching. In this issue, we honor these exceptional philanthropists as well as the eminent scholars, Peter E. Knox and Yasuhiro Shirai, they have enabled us to recruit to our faculty.

We are also delighted to announce a new humanities partnership between the university and Cuyahoga Community College, launched with the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This initiative will develop a pathway for Tri-C students to earn bachelor’s degrees in humanities disciplines at Case Western Reserve. We are grateful to the Mellon Foundation and to our colleagues at Tri-C for their commitment to this nationally distinctive collaboration.

Elsewhere in these pages, you can read about undergraduates pursuing humanities research overseas, scientists investigating the factors that affect water quality in Lake Erie and an innovative arts educator recently named the college’s 2015 Young Alumna of the Year. Of course, no single issue can begin to encompass all that our students, faculty and alumni continually accomplish. But that is one source of our pride in the college: There is always more to write about and to praise.

Cyrus C. Taylor
Dean and Albert A. Michelson Professor in Physics


Page last modified: November 11, 2015