The below email was sent by President Kim Cassidy on Friday, Aug. 26
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
Welcome to the 131st academic year at Bryn Mawr College! I hope you each found your summer to have a balance of rest, productivity and fun.
I invite you to join me at Convocation on Monday, August 29th when we will gather to mark the opening of a new academic year and to welcome new students, faculty and staff to the College. While this ceremony is marked with elements of tradition, I believe the emphasis should be on the opportunity it presents for us to pause and to reflect collectively on our hopes and expectations for the coming year. Professor Alison Cook-Sather will speak on behalf of the faculty and Mimi Gordor ’17 and Matt Jameson, PhD candidate in Archaeology, will represent the undergraduate and graduate students, respectively. In addition, Dean Walters will greet the community and I will offer some remarks as well. Do make time in your day to attend Convocation and the celebratory picnic afterward on Wyndham Green.
Last month, we welcomed our new Dean of the Undergraduate College Jennifer Walters to Bryn Mawr. Jennifer began attending meetings, trainings and retreats shortly after Commencement and has been getting to know the ins and outs of the College. As we welcome Jennifer to Bryn Mawr, I hope you will join me in expressing gratitude to Dean Judy Balthazar for her three years of service as Interim Dean of the Undergraduate College.
We also welcome 12 new continuing faculty members from the departments of Athletics & Physical Education, Computer Science, English, French, German, History of Art, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, and Sociology. And I extend a warm welcome to the 16 staff members who have come to the College since May to work in Communications, the Dean’s Office, Dining Services, the Health Center, LITS, and the Post Office.
Summer is always an incredibly busy time for our folks in Facilities and Housekeeping, and this year was no exception. In addition to the many campus renovations and improvements described below, these teams “flipped” the dorms twice from student residence to summer housing and back again. This was an especially taxing effort this year with the extreme heat and humidity we had earlier this month; I encourage you to share a word of thanks with these folks as you encounter them during your day.
Significant investment occurred in the dorms. In Rockefeller, look for fully renovated bathrooms, tea pantries and new laundry rooms on the first and second floors. The common areas here each have a fresh coat of paint and additional bench seating. In addition, we repointed and restored the exterior stone façade. Three hundred and sixty-eight new windows provide beautiful light and temperature control to the individual rooms and common spaces in Denbigh. Merion has a new laundry room and Erdman will provide residents and visitors with warmth this fall and winter thanks to a new, energy efficient boiler.
Across campus you will notice a new pathway to English House and a new plaza at the Campus Center; both offer improved entrances to these spaces. Site visits and preliminary research have occurred to inform planning for the Perry Garden; more information about this work will be coming in the next two months. Taft Garden and the Sunken Garden are undergoing restoration to afford greater safety and enjoyment for their visitors. The slate roof above Thomas Great Hall is being replaced, and lastly, we have replaced the plumbing and renovated all of the restrooms at the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.
The past few months have been filled with reflection on the past year and planning for the future. My colleagues and I have been particularly focused on what we can do together to foster community and enhance campus life. Dean Walters and I shared some of these plans with students earlier this week. The monthly Coffee Hour and Pop-Ups continue and we will also gather as a community at the Town Hall. I will continue to convene Open Community Diversity Conversations and the Community Day of Learning this year, and there will be an opportunity to commemorate September 11th. Please check the campus newsletter for more information about these and other events.
This fall we introduce a new wellness course, THRIVE, for all new and first-year students. THRIVE is a course and an experience designed to support students in the transition to college and to Bryn Mawr with an emphasis on learning about oneself and how one relates to others and one’s community. I am a part of the THRIVE faculty and excited to be a part of this new effort.
In recent years, folks in The Office of Alumnae Relations and Development have been in conversation with alumnae/i and friends of the College about our aspirations for the future and ways in which they can support current and future initiatives here. We are now entering the public phase of our comprehensive campaign and will mark this milestone with a campus-wide celebration on the afternoon of Friday, September 16. The event will be a fun opportunity to build Bryn Mawr pride; please mark your calendars now!
At Bryn Mawr, we are known for our ambition and passionate pursuits. I hope that as you look ahead and go about your days on campus, you will avail yourself of the opportunities I have mentioned here but also to take a break from your studies, work, and classes to enjoy the many other lectures, exhibits, performances and athletic competitions happening each day around you.
I look forward to the new year and to celebrating with you at Convocation and the community picnic on Monday.
With best wishes,