Campus update: Spring Commencement highlights; new Dean for College of Education; Center for Jewish Studies 10-year Anniversary; National Nurses Week; celebrating Eastern excellence - May 12, 2022

To the Eastern Michigan University community,

It took longer than usual, but it sure is nice to welcome spring back to Michigan! Eastern’s 800-acre campus is certainly at its finest this time of year -- making for pleasant walks, sunny lunch spots on picnic tables, or a nice seat in the grass. And, of course, summer classes are now underway and we look forward to supporting our students, faculty and staff for a successful semester.

I have several items to cover in this week’s update:

  • Spring Commencement Ceremonies
  • New Dean for the College of Education
  • Center for Jewish Studies Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary
  • Employee Campus Picnic June 13
  • National Nurses Week
  • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
  • Final Thoughts

Spring Commencement Ceremonies

The April 30 commencement ceremonies were a joyous occasion for everyone involved. I can’t stress enough how pleased we are to again be able to celebrate in person. More than 2,000 students were eligible to participate and witness a wonderful address by alumnus and Vice Chairman/Chief Commercial Officer of the New York Stock Exchange, John Tuttle. We were honored to present John with an Honorary Doctor of Commerce degree to recognize his fine career and his ongoing support for EMU. We were equally honored to present an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Dr. Donald Loppnow, who had a 40-plus year career at the University. Dr. Loppnow started at Eastern as a lecturer in sociology and rose through the ranks as a professor of social work, and held many administrative positions including provost and serving as interim president on three separate occasions – the last taking place up to my arrival on campus in July 2016.

Please visit our YouTube channel to watch a full highlight video of our 2022 commencement ceremonies. I also encourage you to view the highlight video of our Multicultural Graduation Celebration that took place on Friday, April 29.

Commencement ceremonies will be held on August 13, 2022, for students who will complete their degree requirements this summer. Students who graduated in April 2020, August 2020, December 2020, April 2021, and August 2021 will also be invited to participate in the August ceremonies. Additional information regarding the August Commencement will be posted at a later date on the EMU Commencement website.

New Dean for the College of Education

Earlier today, Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Rhonda Longworth announced the appointment of a new dean for the College of Education. This is tremendously exciting news for the University. Dr. Ryan Evely Gildersleeve, associate dean in the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver, will join us effective July 16. His appointment follows a national search that brought three finalists to campus for interviews and public forums.

In accepting the position, Dr. Gildersleeve said, “I am honored and excited to build upon the University’s legacy as an institution of opportunity and as Michigan’s first ‘normal school’ (teacher preparation college),” said Gildersleeve. “The College of Education’s reputation for innovative and empowering academic programs, anchored by its dedicated staff, talented faculty, and passionate students inspires me to continue building its capacity for impact and opportunity. I look forward to expanding partnerships between the College and its communities with humility and a commitment to ensuring equity through education together.”

You can learn more about Dr. Gildersleeve and his background on EMU Today.

Center for Jewish Studies Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

On Tuesday, May 24, at 6 p.m. the Eastern Michigan University Center for Jewish Studies will celebrate 10 years of community, conversation, and culture. The event also allows the community to recognize the founder of the Center, Dr. Marty Shichtman, upon his retirement from the University.

The event will take place in the Student Center Ballroom. Additional details and registration information can be found on the event webpage.

All Employee Campus Picnic June 13

We hope many of our employees will join us on Monday, June 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for a campus picnic. It will take place on the patio of the Student Center. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, the event will be moved into the Student Center Ballroom. It will be a great opportunity to mix and mingle with your colleagues from across the University. I would like to thank the University Human Resources and EDining teams for supporting this fun social opportunity.

National Nurses Week

As National Nurses Week comes to a close, if there was ever time to reflect on the importance of nurses it is certainly now. Our nation’s nurses, including those at Eastern and our graduates in local, regional and national healthcare facilities, have been in the forefront of supporting our community throughout the pandemic. Many are working regular 12-hour shifts, and more, as they strive to keep up with the increased health needs of our community and staffing shortages. Our nurses have helped countless patients and families, even while facing their own traumas and challenges caused by COVID-19. Please take some time to reflect on the important roles of nurses in our society and how we can do more to recognize their service and sacrifice.

Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

Please join me in celebrating these fine examples of Eastern excellence:

It is wonderful to share these stories about the individuals and programs behind our University’s many successes.

Final Thoughts

I hope the spring and summer months allow you the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of our campus and community. Stay well and stay safe.

James Smith, Ph.D.