August 20, 2012
Dear Howard University Community:
I am pleased to welcome you to the start of the 2012-2013 academic year. I trust that your summer months were enjoyable and that you are ready for the year ahead. To our continuing students, faculty and staff, welcome back from productive summer research and study abroad activities, and I hope some much needed rest and relaxation.
It’s a great time to be a Bison! This fall, we will begin the academic year with the second annual AT&T Nation’s Football Classic and the “More than a Game” academic events. Last year’s activities were a tremendous success. The historic rivalry between Howard University and Morehouse College will unfold again as the football teams meet on September 1. On September 28, 2012, faculty, students, staff, alumni, friends and supporters will gather for the University’s 145th Convocation to officially open the new academic year.
I would like to extend a warm welcome to members of our freshman class—the class of 2016 and to our new transfer students! They have joined a unique institution that is known far beyond the Hilltop for excellence in teaching and learning, research, leadership, public service and the pursuit of justice. They will be exposed to diverse hands-on learning opportunities outside the classroom, including internships, field-work, study abroad and community service projects. Our new students are now an important part of Howard’s rich and vibrant legacy. I encourage them to take advantage of the many academic and extra-curricular opportunities that are available at Howard. I also welcome our new graduate and professional students and wish for them a rewarding educational experience at Howard. They are joining Howard as we are increasing our focus on graduate and professional education and research.
I am also especially pleased by the successful conclusion of the rigorous national search that resulted in the appointment of Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick as the University’s Provost and Chief Academic Officer. Dr. Frederick assumed his new role on June 18, 2012. We are fortunate to have Dr. Frederick serve in this capacity and look forward to his leadership in spearheading the University’s Academic Renewal initiatives. Also, I thank each member of University community who has agreed to serve in academic and administrative positions to advance Howard University.
As the new academic term begins, several noteworthy developments are taking place across the University. The approval of the campus master plan by the District Zoning Commission for an unprecedented 15 years provides a special opportunity for Howard to make significant enhancements to its physical plant. This fall, the University will break ground on two new residence halls along the Fourth Street corridor. These state-of-the-art living-and-learning communities will house more than 1,300 of our students. They are scheduled for occupancy in August 2014. In the spring of 2013, we will also begin construction on the University’s new interdisciplinary STEM research building.
Over the past two years, we implemented a campus-wide Facilities Renewal initiative and invested $28 million in major renovation projects to support our academic programs and administrative services. Eight buildings are now complete, including Numa Adams, Cramton Auditorium, Locke and Frazier Halls, the Service Center. Burr Gymnasium and Downing Hall will be ready in September of 2012. The construction of a $5 million state-of-the-art "surgical simulation center" in the College of Medicine has also commenced and will be completed in January 2013.
The University has invested nearly $4 million in renovation and building upgrades for each of its 13 residence halls. The changes include new furniture sets, new mattresses for 20 percent of our residence halls with painting and a significant upgrading of lounge-area furniture, except in the Towers. Approximately 75 percent of the furniture will be installed in early August; the rest will be installed in December.
To enhance dining options, last year, the University brought Potbelly to South Campus. This fall, the options along the Georgia Avenue corridor will grow with the inclusion of two new franchises: Fro-Zen-Yo, a health-conscious and contemporary frozen yogurt store, and Fuel Pizza, a New York-style pizza café. More options will be introduced in the coming months to serve our students, faculty and staff.
This fall, the University’s historic Founders Undergraduate Library will undergo major renovations to significantly enhance the facility. The renovations are designed to foster a more conducive environment for study and research. Next academic year, the Undergraduate Library will include many new features, including a café, upgraded technology and research services, and redesigned study spaces that support collaborative discussion and research. It will also provide increased accessibility to book collections and resources on-and off-campus. During the renovation, Founders will continue to accommodate library patrons.
All of our efforts are designed to support our students and ensure that they are able to achieve their academic and career goals. At our spring 2012 Charter Day Convocation, we unveiled a Bridging the Gap Campaign through which we will raise funds to close the gap between many of our students’ financial need and ability to pay. Notwithstanding the historically high levels of financial aid that Howard is providing its students, more is needed. We need you, our faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends, to join the Campaign and help bridge the gap for our students.
As we embark on the new academic year, I am excited about the progress we have made to date. We have more work ahead, but together I know we can meet our goals and advance the unique mission and legacy of Howard.
Have a great academic year!
Sidney A. Ribeau