I thought about calling this my "end of summer" VC Notes, but the lingering heat wave made that seem like a stretch. I'm old enough - just barely - to remember the days when school started after Labor Day and fall weather wasn't far behind.
In any case, many students are back on campus this week, and witnessing their energy and exuberance first-hand is an unmistakable sign of transition. It's also a reminder of why I love my job; I never tire of being around these smart, motivated people who are our students.
Wednesday I had the pleasure of welcoming 400 of them at general orientation at the Student Union. They represent about two-fifths of the 1,013 new students who have enrolled for the 2015-16 academic year.
And I'll extend that welcome to the approximately 180 new residents and fellows who joined us last month and the 67 new faculty who have come on board since mid-May.
To all of you, we are glad you are here and we hope you enjoy yourselves amid all the hard work you're doing. Don't hesitate to ask for assistance if you need it. We're all here to help you succeed.
I'm sorry the campus is so torn up with construction. If you count the road improvements to East University Drive near the VA Hospital, there are four major projects under way simultaneously. The dry conditions have been good for construction activity, but bad for producing an inordinate amount of red-tinged dust.
Work on the Translational Research Center was temporarily suspended when bids on phase 2 of the project came in higher than expected. We have resolved the problem and expect construction to resume later this month.
In my nearly 30 years here, I don't remember as much construction going on at one time on campus. For those of you who are new with us this year, the good news is you'll be around when these projects, including a new parking garage, start coming on line beginning about 10 months from now.
We are coming off a very successful year, one of the most productive in the Medical Center's history. What I'm perhaps proudest of is the completion of UMMC's first comprehensive strategic plan. A lot of behind-the-scenes work is going on toward achieving the 10 goals associated with the plan. You'll hear more about this as the academic year progresses. To read the plan online visit: https://www.umc.edu/administration/strategic_plan/strategic_plan__home.aspx
In the meantime, to all of our newcomers, I prescribe the following: Work hard. Have fun. Get your rest. Be kind to one another and to the people we serve.
And while we're at it, let's all remember to serve each other. Be invested not only in your own success, but the success of your classmates, your teachers, your students, your colleagues, your patients. We're all in this together, on our journey to A Healthier Mississippi.