Welcome to the Fall Semester!

September 4, 2019

Dear students, faculty and staff: 

Welcome to the 2019-2020 academic year! The start of fall classes at Eastern is always exciting. I want to wish all of you — new and returning students, faculty, and staff — the very best as we start the new academic year.

Move-in weekend provided a dynamic and energizing start to the new academic year. It is always inspiring to meet our newest students — the class of ’23! I would like to thank the hundreds of students, faculty, staff and alumni volunteers who helped make this a great opening weekend for our new students and their families.

As we begin the new academic year, we have much positive news to share. (Watch a video version of this message.)


Eastern’s outstanding academics, driven by our acclaimed faculty, continue to generate positive recognition. For the 17th consecutive year, Eastern has been named a “Best in the Midwest” university by The Princeton Review. And, earlier this year, Eastern was reclassified as a Doctoral University with High Research Activity in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. This moves Eastern to the second highest tier of research universities in the nation.

This is wonderful recognition on many fronts, and I congratulate everyone involved. 

For new and returning students, I encourage you to truly connect with your professors every semester – take advantage of their office hours so you get to know them, and they get to know you and your academic and career goals. I promise you, it will be worth the time and effort.

Key academic dates for the semester can be found on the Academic Calendar. 

Campus revitalization

An unprecedented level of construction activity has taken place over the summer, some of which will continue through the year:

Sill Hall: Sill, the home of the newly renamed College of Engineering and Technology, is receiving a complete overhaul to accommodate the expansion of Eastern’s engineering and technology programs. Completion is set for fall of 2020.

Rec/IM: The project involves extensive improvements to fitness and training areas, a new entrance and attractive collaboration and gathering spaces. The third through fifth floors will be complete this fall, with the first and second floors to be completed in fall 2020.

IHA Health Center @ EMU: You can vividly see this project taking shape at the northwest end of campus. The project is a collaboration with St. Joseph Mercy Health System and IHA. It will open on November 4 and will replace Snow Health Center. Full details, including services to be offered, can be found on the IHA Health Center @ EMU website.

CAPS/Psychology Clinic building: This new building, set for completion in mid-to-late January 2020, is being constructed adjacent to the new health center. It will house Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the Psychology Clinic. 

Mark Jefferson Science Complex – Neuroscience and Fermentation Science build-out: The project involves renovation of the fifth floor of the complex to support the recently established Neuroscience and Fermentation Science programs.

IT campus capital projects: This work involves the updating of more than 100 classrooms with technology, completing a seven-year cycle, along with computer network upgrades in all buildings and campus Wi-Fi in the Tower residence halls. 

Campus security: This project involves the addition of LED lighting in the campus mall, Oakwood Street, Ann Street and selected parking lots, and security cameras all around campus. The campus now has more than 900 cameras.

Campus parking and paving projects: The University’s parking partner, ParkEMU, is funding a dozen projects spread over this past fiscal year and during this summer. Those include repairs to the main parking structure, located in the center of campus, extending Lyman Street, work on Cornell Drive and a variety of other parking lot repairs.

Student-Athlete Performance Center: The new two-story structure is located in the north end zone of Rynearson Stadium. The Center, which is available to all Eastern student-athletes, includes expanded sports medicine and strength training facilities, as well as a new scoreboard. 


  • Title IX: I want to reiterate the ongoing importance of Title IX and the University’s commitment to providing a learning, living and working environment free from discrimination of all kinds, including sexual assault and sexual harassment. We conducted a campus climate survey around sexual violence culture last year and will hold focus groups this fall before releasing results and proposed action steps later in the academic year. All of this contributes to an EMU campus where every one of us feels welcome, engaged and supported in success. Our Title IX Office and Title IX Coordinator, Dr. Melody Werner, are available and prepared to respond to any questions or reported incidents. You can contact the office through the Title IX website or by telephone at 734.487.3617.

  • 9/11 Ceremony of Remembrance: On Wednesday, September 11, a Ceremony of Remembrance of the 18th anniversary of 9/11 will take place at 8:30 a.m. at Eastern’s 9/11 Memorial, which includes a beam from the World Trade Center. The Memorial is located behind Pease Auditorium at the corner of Cross and Perrin streets. All members of the campus and surrounding community are invited to attend.

  • Homecoming week is October 7-12. You can learn more about the most spirited week on campus on the Homecoming website. We hope to see you at many of our events that week. 

  • Campus Climate Assessment: A diversity assessment is being launched by the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion. This important assessment will begin in October and we encourage everyone to take part. You will learn more about this in the weeks ahead. Visit the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion assessment website for additional details.

A schedule of campus events can be found on the Calendar and Events page of the University’s website.

Saturday’s football game provided an exciting start to the season – with a win on the road, 30-23 over Coastal Carolina. We hope you can join us for Family Weekend and the first home game on September 21.

As we begin the fall semester, I want to wish everyone a great and positive start to the 2019-20 academic year. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please email me at [email protected].

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