It was wonderful to see so many of you at our annual Francis Marion Drake Society (FMDS) Dinner just a few weeks ago. For those of you unable to attend, more than 400 President’s Circle members and key donors to the STEM@DRAKE project joined us for a progressive dinner that spanned Collier-Scripps Hall and the Science Connector Building. One of the most meaningful parts of the night for me was seeing faculty and students meet the very donors who made their classrooms, learning spaces, and offices possible—and I of course enjoyed seeing my son perform with the Brocal Chords for the excited crowd. Being surrounded by so much Bulldog pride and enthusiasm makes the FMDS Dinner a night I look forward to every year. I am happy to share photos of this special night here.
The doors are open
The next day, we celebrated a significant milestone on campus: the dedication of Collier-Scripps Hall and the Science Connector Building. They represent the first new academic buildings to be constructed on campus in 25 years. More than 100 alumni, donors, faculty, staff, students, and friends of Drake joined us on Oct. 7 for a special dedication ceremony. They were able to explore both buildings, which boast plentiful windows and high ceilings, making the spaces feel open and bright and providing some of the best views of campus. These facilities have changed the face of Drake in an impressive way, and infused campus with a renewed sense of excitement and purpose.
The STEM@DRAKE complex reflects Drake's values and vision in myriad ways. The buildings showcase our commitment to providing the best possible facilities. They provide spaces where our students can learn and our faculty can teach and conduct research in more innovative and efficient ways. Both facilities were completed on time and on budget, fulfilling our dedication to responsible stewardship. Academic programs including computer science and mathematics, education, biology, and health sciences now have state-of-the-art facilities, representing Drake's promise to provide a pipeline of needed professionals for the future in Greater Des Moines, the state of Iowa, and beyond. The STEM@DRAKE project also enabled us to offer new majors that are in great demand among prospective students, including kinesiology, athletic training, and occupational therapy.
If you were unable to join us at this special event, I hope you will make a trip to campus and see these impeccable facilities for yourself soon. Visit our Flickr page to see photos from the ceremonies.
October Board of Trustees Meeting
That same weekend—it was a busy time for Drake—we also held our quarterly Board of Trustees meeting on campus. One of the main topics of the weekend was inclusion, civility, and diversity on campus. A two-hour discussion centered primarily on the political climate of campus, but also addressed inclusion, civility, and diversity as it relates to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and other distinguishing characteristics. Professors from each college and school participated in a panel discussion on the current climate at Drake, and Kevin Saunders, director of institutional research and academic assessment, provided data on student perceptions as a foundation for the conversation. The leaders of our student government were also on hand, and contributed greatly to the session. Overall, it was a robust discussion that gave all involved a better appreciation of the breadth and depth of the challenges Drake faces when it comes to these topics, but also where we have room to improve and how we are making efforts to do so.
Finally, our branding agency, 160over90, was in town to share a first look at Drake's new brand platform. They presented to campus during a town hall event on Oct. 6, followed by a presentation to the Board of Trustees the next day.
I was part of the Brand Steering Committee that has seen this platform come together over the summer. My fellow committee members and I are excited and inspired by the new direction in which we are heading. While the Drake logo—and the education we provide—isn’t changing as part of this initiative, what is changing is how we tell our story. The imagery, voice, and creative direction powerfully conveys everything we find so meaningful about being part of the Drake community. Our students are trailblazers. Our faculty have a lasting influence on the lives of those they teach and mentor. We are enthusiastically engaged in making our communities better. In short, Drake provides a resilient education with a lifetime of impact, and I know you will see that boldly reflected in our communication efforts as we move forward. We are beginning to implement the new brand, and you will see its use become more widespread in the coming months.
We've clearly reached several milestones recently, but we continue to look forward. Your generosity is critical to our success—past, present, and future. Thank you for your loyalty to Drake and philanthropic leadership.