This is a very exciting time to be at Governors State University. Big ideas that have been in development for a long time are becoming reality. Our first freshman class is applying now.

These freshmen will begin their college careers next fall with a curriculum designed to support their academic success and to spark lifelong learning. In three groups of 90 freshman classmates, they’ll explore one of three big ideas – civic engagement, global citizenship or sustainability. These themes will be integrated across all their classes during their first year on campus at GSU.

Transfer students from community colleges and other universities continue to be a vital part of our student body. Our Dual Degree Program creates a seamless transition from associate’s degree to bachelor’s degree. And our master’s and doctoral programs continue to draw the best and brightest from across the region and the nation.

This year also begins with new majors and minors in all four of our colleges, as well as new offerings in our School of Extended Learning. Each is designed to meet the needs of an increasingly global society, a shifting economy or an expanding need for specialized studies. Or all of these.

We’re also creating a revitalized environment for learning. Our newly renovated Science Wing – the result of state support and a National Science Foundation grant – will allow GSU students to experience state-of-the-market facilities before they take that new or improved job, or move on to graduate studies.

When I was named Provost in June 2013, I was honored. Leading the academic life of a university - one with innovation embedded in its DNA – is a wonderful responsibility and challenge. As a former GSU dean I know that our faculty is full of energy for pushing all of us, both colleagues and students, to pursue the big ideas that have been the hallmark of GSU since our founding. Academic excellence is everywhere you look.

I look forward to meeting you.