What a harrowing week it has been for the people of typhoon-ravaged Tacloban! What anguish to witness bereaved families who in a fast-flowing storm surge lost their loved ones, their homes, and their hopes. What a reminder to us of the fragility of life and how swiftly shed in times of catastrophe the veneer of civilization. Please join me on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 12:00 noon in the Auditorium for a panel discussion moderated by Prof. Michael Goodman on Typhoon Haiyan and its environmental, logistical, and health impacts.
Last November 6, we honored philanthropist Chuck Charlton and his daughter Stacy, who visited from California for "Unveiling the Vision" at the Charlton College of Business. Prominent business and civic leaders Pat Murray of Bristol County Savings Bank, Bill Eccles of Bank Five, Rev. Robert Lawrence, and others joined in the ceremony. Kudos to CCB Dean "Guna" Gunasekaran, Campaign Chair Bob Karam, and the indefatigable Joyce Antine for raising to date $1.3M of the required $1.5M matching funds required by the Charlton Trust. We are almost there!
Cabinet members and I, along with President Caret and UMass System officials, traveled to Washington, DC, to attend the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) Conference. Dominant themes in the plenary and concurrent sessions were campus-based strategies to improve retention and graduation, especially for low-income and first-generation college students; approaches to secure financial and capital resources; federal research fiscal constraints; and implications of the Affordable Care Act for educational institutions.
Associate Provost Tesfay Meressi and I also visited program officers and agency directors at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the National Science Foundation. Although it was disheartening to hear of an 8% budget reduction next year in addition to the 7% decrease this year as a result of federal sequestration, I was encouraged by the consistently high regard conveyed by federal funders for the work of our faculty researchers. Chad Argotsinger organized a lively gathering attended by about 30 alumni from the DC area. VP of Rapiscan Systems Eileen Parise, retired Rear Admiral Julia Plotnick, Jayne Brady Prescott, and numerous others were thrilled to see us and joined in the camaraderie and celebration of Corsair pride!
It is a privilege for me to chair the CONNECT partnership this year with UMass Dartmouth, Bridgewater State University, Bristol Community College, Massasoit Community College, and Cape Cod Community College. In our strategic planning meeting on November 14, collectively we pledged to increase college completion and educational attainment in the SouthCoast in the next 3-5 years by working with K-12 and each other to achieve collective impact.
International students, did you savor the scrumptious turkey and trimmings served at our second Annual Thanksgiving Dinner on November 15? What an animated and festive gathering it was! Please stop and thank Cynthia Cummings, Marjorie Fernandes, and Tina Bruen, as well as Patrick Cotter and his Chartwell team for a fine job.
Kudos to Prof. Joao Paraskeva and Educational Leadership PhD students for a successful TRED (Transformative Researchers and Educators for Democracy) Conference and for inviting Secretary of Education Matt Malone as speaker! Congratulations to Prof. Steve Cadrin for being honored in the prestigious IDEAS Boston 2013!
Have a great week, everyone!