Welcome Back! One of the many things I love about academia is the sense of renewal - our ability to start fresh with a new semester, a new beginning. Our job of teaching, mentoring, research, and connecting always continues, but at the center of this is the course cycle with a clear beginning and a clear end. All things are fresh and new with this new year and this new semester.
We have some great plans for this new semester, but before we jump in I want to say how proud I am of CoLA's central role in Commencement. Wright State graduated over 1700 students at the 78th Commencement on December 14, with the greatest percentage from CoLA, and here are all the CoLA faculty, staff, and students who helped bring that event about. First off, our own Joe Deer, Musical Theatre, was recognized as the recipient of the Trustee's Award for Faculty Excellence, the highest university honor, and he spoke most eloquently at the commencement breakfast about collaboration, aspiration, and the great opportunities he has had at Wright State. The WSU Faculty Brass Quintet, Music, consisting of Eric Knorr, Thomas Lukowicz, Gretchen McNamara, Jonas Thoms, and Daniel Zehringer, played beautifully (and in some cases repetitively) for the processional and recessional. They played the Wright State University Fanfare written by Steve Hampton, Music Alum '80 and CoLA Top Alum '13, the WSU Alma Mater with words by David Garrison and music by the late Thomas Whissen, both faculty emeriti from Modern Languages, and accompanied ETHOS, our fantastic new student A Capella group including Anna Townsend, Music Education, Isaac Tobler, Music, Sara Lefeld, Music Education, Amy Tackett, Music Performance, Jeremy Aldridge, Music Performance, Monique Cooper, Music, Reed Eggenschwiller, Business, and Jon Hoelle, Liberal Studies, who also sang the National Anthem. Sound Technician for ETHOS is student Randall Jarusiewic, Biomedical Engineering, and Director is Brody McDonald, Music.
The Susans got everyone organized: Sue Stollings, CoLA, and Susan Paul, CoLA, lined everyone up and College Marshal Susan Carafiello, Honors Program, led everyone in. The Public Orators, the absolutely fantastic name announcers, were Carol Loranger, English, and Paul Lockhart, History, and student Danielle Watkins, Communication, recorded the whole event for live web-streaming. The Commencement Committee planned this whole big event and had the help of Randy Paul, Music, and Karen Hayes, English. And I was so pleased to see such a large contingent of CoLA faculty supporting our students as I shook each of their hands and congratulated them as they received their diplomas. Great Job All! Great Job CoLA!
The new semester has brought new faculty. Maan Broadstock, PhD from Ohio State, is our new Instructor of Chinese. With Maan's hire, we are now able to offer Chinese through Year 4, in addition to Arabic, French, Spanish, and German. Ike Brunner, PhD from Bowling Green State University, is our new Instructor in Communication and social media expert, and Ray Marcano, past Director of Digital Content for CoxMedia Group, is our new Journalist in Residence. We are very excited to have the great background experience of these three new hires. Welcome Aboard Maan, Ike, and Ray!
The new semester also brought a big move by our LEAP program. Their new offices are now in 106 Allyn Hall with a lot more elbow room that reflects their continued growth. LEAP is doing a fantastic job helping recruit and retain our burgeoning international student enrollments. Stop by and check out their new space.
Our Theatre, Dance, and Motion Pictures programs continue to shine! The Dayton Daily News published their Top 10 List of local theatre productions a few weeks ago and Wright State has three of the top 10. Congratulations to Director Marya Cordes, and her team, for WSU's Grand Hotel; Director and Writer Stuart McDowell, and his team, for WSU's 1913: The Great Dayton Flood; and Director Joe Deer for The Human Race Theatre's production of Avenue Q. I had the pleasure of seeing all three productions and I am impressed with the diversity, breadth, thoughtfulness, and sheer fun of them all. And retired professor Julia Reichert is again part of an Academy Award nominated film, as associate producer of the documentary Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall. Great job! Great Collaborations!
I want to formally and enthusiastically welcome Stephanie Dickey, English, as the new CoLA Administrative Coordinator where she will organize some of our special events. Stephanie did such a fantastic job at organizing CELIA's Pride and Prejudice event last semester that the Dean's Office (that would be me) decided to 'borrow' her on occasion from her duties as CELIA Administrative Coordinator. I am sure CELIA Director Hank Dahlman is worried (and rightfully so). Don't worry, Hank (worry).
I wish everyone great success and productivity this semester!