Appreciating our Graduate Students
This week is a great opportunity to recognize one of our hardest working groups on campus. They make up more than a quarter of our student body and are essential to the success of the learning and discovery missions of Illinois. They work fervently to contribute so directly to our excellence. That group is our graduate students.
Illinois Day of Service
In celebration of National Volunteer week, Illinois will be holding our second annual Campus and Community Day of Service on Saturday, April 5. I hope all of you will join me in participating.
Spring Break at Illinois
We are privileged to be part of a campus full of the smartest, hardest-working and friendliest faculty, students and staff in the world. Our energy and enthusiasm is a large part of why we enjoy such success and why the reputation of Illinois is known around the world. And many days and weeks in the year, I encourage the entire campus community, myself included, to charge ahead, to push boundaries and make an impact.
Sustainability at Illinois
In the midst of a cold winter, it may seem ironic to discuss our sustainability efforts on campus. But it seemed like the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to see where we have gone and where we are going. In the quest to become a pre-eminent research university with a land-grant mission and global impact, integrating sustainable practices in our research, classes, and buildings - every facet of campus – is a necessity and has been identified as a priority by our students and faculty.
Elevating the discussion
Following the events of this week that raised the need for a campus discussion on civil discourse and respectful debate, I was asked to submit an op-ed to Inside Higher Education. This piece ran today and I want to share it with the campus community here as well.
MLK, Jr. & Empowering the dream
On a hot August day in 1963, a man stood up and spoke for about seventeen minutes. When he began, an estimated 250,000 participants of the “March on Washington” paused to listen as millions more tuned in by television and radio. When he finished, Martin Luther King Jr. had established his own place among great American leaders.
Spirit of Gratitude
As our semester draws rapidly to a close and we head into these final hectic days of the year, I hope you take a few moments to celebrate all we have accomplished together so far.
Illinois extends global reach
The past week has been a blur of time zones and languages – from New York to the annual Silicon Valley Roundtable and then to China with stops in Hong Kong, Shanghai and finally, in Beijing. And once again, with each landing, the global presence of Illinois – both in terms of our alumni and our reputation – was proudly and clearly displayed. And I’m excited that we took another great step forward in our international reach with the official opening of the Illinois China office on Monday, December 9, in Shanghai.
The impact of sequestration
As we all know, in mid-October a short-term budget agreement was made in order to re-open the federal government and lift the debt ceiling. As part of the deal, Congress established a committee to reconcile the vast differences between the House and Senate budgets. The committee has until December 13 to submit an agreed-upon budget resolution for the next fiscal year. Without action, a new round of across-the-board spending cuts will occur in January.
It’s easy to think of the difference in numbers as federal, impersonal facts. But these decisions have an impact on all of our lives, not only because of the Illinois impact, but the impact on the entire global economy.
A smoke-free campus
Last Thursday was the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, and I am proud that this year we celebrated the day at Illinois for the first time. We hope that it was an encouragement to quit for smokers in the Illinois family.