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Welcome to the 2018–19 academic year! I hope that your student will find their time at Southern to be intellectually invigorating and personally rewarding! I have to say that I’m very excited about the next nine months.
This fall, we will celebrate Southern’s 125th anniversary and our university’s time-honored mission of building communities and empowering lives. We will mark the occasion with a Grand Reunion of Alumni during Homecoming weekend, along with a host of related events.
As a public institution, Southern is committed to social justice, to being a good neighbor and advancing the public good. And I am eager to develop new partnerships that will position us as a community resource and, indeed, a change agent. Let me give you some examples.
In June, we broke ground for the new Barack H. Obama Magnet University School on Farnham Avenue, just down the street from our Alumni House. This is a signature academic partnership with the City of New Haven and its school system. And it’s a wonderful opportunity for our education students to get in-classroom experience while promoting innovation and learning in the early grades.
On the other side of campus, a new home for our School of Health and Human Services will be built on the Fitch Street frontage adjacent to Irma Pelz Gymnasium, the first building to be completed on the new campus of New Haven State Teachers College back in 1953.
This $74 million project is fully funded by the state — a great vote of confidence in our mission and the excellence of our offerings in this growing field. These include clinical programs in areas such as audiology and marriage and family therapy, which serve hundreds of members of the public each year.
In collaboration with Gateway Community College and the Regional Water Authority, we’re launching a program in public utility management that may serve as a national model. With an estimated third of the workforce at the region’s utility companies eligible to retire within five years, this program will give our business students the training necessary to fill projected managerial and technological job openings.
Our Professional Doctorate in Social Work — the first of its kind in New England — also begins this fall. Due to the specialization now required for advanced employment in health and related fields, we expect this program to be a draw both locally and overseas, in countries such as China.
Further afield, our joint graduate program in coastal resilience with our partner institution in Liverpool, England will be the first of a portfolio of joint offerings that will make our collaboration unique in American higher education.
And in May, I flew to Malaysia to join leaders from Liverpool and institutions in Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur in forming a new higher education consortium — yes, Southern is going international!
We’ve certainly come a long way from our roots back in 1893, when three teachers and 84 students met at the old Skinner School in New Haven to create a two-year teacher training program.
I’m delighted to have welcomed your student to campus this fall, and I hope you’ll visit in the near future and join us at our 125th anniversary festivities.