Here at Drake, it’s the first day of classes—one of my favorite times of year. Students have returned from internships across the country, studying abroad, or maybe just a few months off, and they’re eager to reunite with friends and see familiar faculty. We’re also welcoming nearly 780 new students to campus, who are already eagerly jumping into life as Drake Bulldogs. And after helping many of them move into the residence halls last week, I can assure you they have everything they need to feel right at home.
I’m returning to the school year after a summer full of change. Both sons are now in college here at Drake, and we sold our home in Spokane, meaning Laura is finally here in Des Moines. I know she is eager to get more involved in the life of the institution and in the community. Selfishly, I’m thrilled that she and I are back to sharing day-to-day life together, in the same home (and time zone).
Opening New Doors
Summers are also a time of change at Drake, and this year was no different; most notably, we completed construction on two new buildings. Collier-Scripps Hall and the Science Connector Building are officially open for business. These state-of-the-art facilities are the first academic buildings to be built on campus since 1993, and will transform the way we teach our future scientists, researchers, educators, doctors, and more. Not only have we added to our research and learning spaces in the sciences, but the School of Education is now located on campus for the first time in decades. We will dedicate these two buildings on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 11 a.m.—the day after the Francis Marion Drake Society dinner. I hope to see you there!
In June, the Drake University Board of Trustees officially approved an additional approach to learning at Drake: Beginning with the spring 2018 semester, we will start offering online graduate degrees. We will start with one program each out of the School of Education and School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and then move to the Master of Public Administration degree, followed by a new master’s degree in Data Analytics Leadership. This is an exciting next step for Drake and will expand our reach. While the delivery method will be new for these programs, we will still be providing the same exceptional education for which the University is known.
This fall, we have yet another busy semester ahead. I encourage you to visit campus—whether for one of our many exceptional fine arts performances, a volleyball or football game, or for our Bucksbaum Lecture on Nov. 14, which will feature historian Douglas Brinkley. An award-winning author, Mr. Brinkley’s books include The Great Deluge, an account of Hurricane Katrina; biographies on Walter Cronkite and John Kerry; and several titles examining the history of environmentalism in America.
These changes and upcoming experiences would not be possible without the support of our President’s Circle members. Thank you for all you do to support the University as we embark on yet another year of shaping the leaders of tomorrow.