Fiat Lux an opportunity to speak to the community

It is hard to believe that summer has come to an end and we're back for the Fall 2011 Semester.

Welcome to all new and returning students, as well as staff and faculty. As much as the summer break seemed especially short this year, probably due to the fact we're just now enjoying summer-type weather, I am very excited to be starting a new semester.

There is a special kind of energy that's associated with the start of a new academic year, and I look forward to what lies ahead.

One of the goals I had when I started my Open Mike column last year was to keep the University community informed about what was happening within the Office of the President. I have always seen transparency as an absolute necessity in a university setting, and have strived to be open and clear about the major issues that affect our university.

Fiat Lux
The inaugural Fiat Lux Address is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 3 p.m. in the University Theatre.

As we begin a new series of columns, I want to take that transparency to another level and further involve our university community in shaping the
U of L's future.

On Sept. 28, at 3 p.m. in the University Theatre, I will be giving the inaugural Fiat Lux presidential address to the University community. I see this as a forum to talk to you about where we've been as an institution, where we are today and where I see us going and needing to go in the future.

It is important that you know about decisions that are made at the executive level and what challenges the University faces as it moves forward. The Fiat Lux talk will speak to where the U of L is in terms of student numbers, our budget and the challenges we see before us. There are external pressures that will affect our future, including issues such as government funding, the competitive educational landscape, the economy and even short and long-term demographic forecasts.

We have established strategic priorities and directives over the past few years and this address is a chance to examine what we've done to move these initiatives along. More importantly, I will speak to where I feel we need to be focused going forward and what we, as an emerging comprehensive institution, should aspire to achieve.

I intend to discuss such specific initiatives as an FNMI and community engagement strategy as well as philosophical questions such as current institutional structure and our aspirations as a Destination University.

I expect the Fiat Lux address to serve as an important communication tool for the internal University community, and I see it as the start of a larger scale effort to further connect with our community on a more regular basis.

There are exciting things unfolding at the U of L this year and I urge everyone to come out on Sept. 28 so that we can discuss what I see as a time of unprecedented opportunity for our University.