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President's Circle Insider

February 2019

Greetings! Since July, 2016, I have had the privilege of serving as Drake University’s Provost.

What exactly is a provost? According to the definition from the renaissance period—the provost is the jailer. Thankfully, times have changed. As provost, I oversee all of academic affairs, which includes ensuring rigor and relevance for more than 70 graduate and undergraduate programs of study delivered traditionally and online; 305 full-time faculty in five colleges, schools, and libraries; all of student affairs; international programs; research and grants; and campus equity and inclusion. 

Simply, my mission is to support the mission of Drake, and ensure the quality of a Drake degree through the pursuit of excellence in teaching and learning, scholarship, and service to the community.

Why am I grateful to be Drake’s provost? I came here because, growing up in Iowa, I knew Drake’s outstanding reputation. What now makes me thankful when I walk in the door of Old Main every day—the people. Drake has world-class faculty and committed staff dedicated to each student’s success, and the most engaged students I’ve seen in my entire academic career.

Today, I want to extend my sincerest thanks to you, for the enormous good you do by sharing your time, talents, and treasures with the Drake community – your financial support, engagement, and leadership inspire our community to fulfill its mission. As a result of your support, Drake is able to provide hundreds of student scholarships, support research projects, and offer numerous programs involving the fine arts, teaching, athletics, and community engaged learning.

Drake Student on Chile J-Term Trip. 
Visit our flickr gallery for more images of student experience over J-Term this year.

The evidence of your generosity was most recently on display during January Term—a three-week period in which Drake offers more than 80 unique courses designed to provide students with out-of-the-ordinary experiences. For example, students on a J-Term in Chile visited various companies, such as Principal Financial Group, the Chilean Stock Exchange, and El Mercurio (the oldest newspaper in Latin America). In India, students studied at Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences and participated in various research projects on postpartum hemorrhaging, HIV, and Ayurvedic medicine, and in Kosovo, a group of Bulldogs met with the country’s Prime Minister who spent an hour answering the students’ questions. On-campus, students studied everything from Cold War films and business law to fake news and robotics. 

Student experiences like these would not be possible without your support. You have transformed the lives of countless students, their families, and their communities, and for this, I am truly grateful.


Wishing you the very best in 2019. 

Sue J. Mattison, Ph.D.
Provost, Drake University