Chancellor's Monday Message
Monday, August 18, 2014    

Eighteen-year old Michael Brown, unarmed, was shot dead by a police officer, later known to be Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9. Michael was black and Officer Wilson is white. A trail of protests, looting, and violence ensued in the next few days, with hundreds gathered demanding justice, and the Ferguson police, clad in riot gear and armed with assault rifles, responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. On Friday, the FBI began a civil rights investigation.

 

Walter Russell Meade wrote last Friday in The American Interest, "... what we are seeing in Ferguson should remind us all that America hasn't yet come to terms with our country's deepest wound, and that it continues to impose a terrible cost both on society as a whole and those least able to bear the burden." As educated citizens, it is our responsibility to carefully evaluate our own paradigms and to work toward our country's stated goal, "equality for all."

 

Plaudits to Professor Robert Waxler, whose book The Risk of Reading was just published! In the book, Professor Waxler asserts that in a frenetic world of electronic devices and instantaneous communication, "deep reading" of literature is essential to our search for identity and to understanding ourselves and the world around us.

 

We are extremely proud of junior Jillian Zucco, an Honors student in Nursing, who belted out a stellar musical performance at the recent Feast of the Blessed Sacrament celebration in New Bedford. A talented and award-winning singer, dancer, actress, and also the reigning Miss New Bedford, Jillian is not only an Abigail Adams Scholar but is an indefatigable volunteer, having won the national President's Volunteer Service Award four times.

 

Congratulations to Professor Hillary Farber for her compelling presentation at Nonquitt last Thursday -- sans Power Point slides -- on regulatory and constitutional approaches to deployment of domestic drones!

 

With the opening of the academic year just around the corner, we welcome many new staff members. One I met recently who just moved here from North Dakota is Lydia Johnson, Assistant Director of Upperclass Residences. Lydia, who earned a Master's degree from the University of Wisconsin - LaCrosse, was previously Director of Residential Life and Student Engagement for almost five years at Dickinson State University in North Dakota.

 

Last week, I visited briefly with Elena Glatman, our new Director of Research Administration. Before joining UMassD, Elena was employed at Worcester Polytechnic Institute as Associate Director of Pre-Award Services and prior to that as Assistant Director at Brown University. Elena holds a Master of Arts in Linguistics and Psychology from Buryat State University in Russia. Welcome aboard, Lydia and Elena!

 

If you roam around campus, you will notice our residential halls and facilities scrubbed clean and shiny, with many areas coated with fresh paint. On our campus tour last Wednesday with Facilities Director Peter Duffy, we noticed the results of the hard work of our staff, who have been conscientiously preparing for the arrival of our new and returning students and faculty. We watched "plant whisperer" Amy Sasin, who has worked miracles with plantings to enhance our landscape. Thank you to Peter Duffy, Mike Hayes, Jeff Louro, Danielle Sousa, Tom Prock, Joe Raposa, and their team for the huge difference they have made.  

 

Last Friday, as I was traveling to a meeting with Mass Humanities in Northampton, I noticed some foliage in western Massachusetts has begun to turn yellow. Was the early change triggered by cooler temperatures? Is fall almost here?

 

Please join me on Tuesday, September 2 at 11 AM in the Vietnam Veterans Peace Memorial Amphitheater for our annual Convocation.

 

Have a glorious week!

Chancellor's Signature
UMass Dartmouth