Welcome to the fall semester!

September 5, 2014

Dear students, faculty and staff,

It’s always exciting to begin a new academic year. On Saturday, students moved into residence halls and we won our first home football game at The Factory. More than 5,000 new students are expected to join the Eastern community of more than 22,000 students overall.

While final enrollment numbers will be officially known in mid-September as new students continue to register, the entering freshman class is already the third largest in the last decade – we expect approximately 2,600 new freshmen. That’s an increase of 25 percent from four years ago.

The good news continues as our Honors College has nearly doubled in size over the last three years. This year, the Honors College added approximately 500 new freshmen – an increase of 17 percent from last year’s record class and will have 1,400 students overall.

The incoming class of freshmen also is better prepared academically. The average ACT score is 22.25, continuing a trend of increases totaling more than a point from 2011 when the entering class averaged a 21.1. The average high school GPA also has risen over the last five years, from 3.05 in the fall of 2010, to 3.27 for this incoming class.

This time of year typically brings great excitement and anticipation. For some of our new incoming students, it also is a time of nervousness, and perhaps a little fear and anxiety. Many of you left behind a network of family and friends and may be lonely. Know that we are here for you. We want to help you make friends and get to know campus and our Ypsilanti community.

Our faculty and staff are a great resource you should count on. Make it a point to ask a question if you encounter something you don’t understand. Ask for help. Talk to someone you don't know and get to know that person. Step out of your comfort zone to learn about something new. You have the opportunity at college to get to know new people from different backgrounds and cultures. 

College is a journey that will change you in ways you cannot anticipate when you start. Eastern’s faculty is dedicated to your success. Get to know at least one of your professors this semester by visiting them after classes or during their office hours. You might find a research idea that you could develop and present at the Undergraduate Research Symposium next March. 

I love Eastern. I love the pride I see in the faces of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. Enjoy our 800+ walkable acres of green grass, rolling hills, trees and beautiful grounds. Eastern was founded in 1849 and our campus is historic, yet has state-of-the-art facilities including our wonderful Science Complex.

Eastern continues to invest in technology upgrades to keep us connected and improve the classroom experience. We also add programs to meet the changing needs of the workplace. Our first class in the new Physician Assistant program, located in the Rackham Building, began last May. Eastern offers a wide variety of degree programs to pick from, so that you can find the right path to your future.  

Eastern Michigan University is thriving and remains committed to providing an affordable, excellent education to meet Michigan’s needs for a talented workforce.

Please join me at tomorrow’s complimentary picnic lunch, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. behind Welch Hall by the Cesar Chavez Fountain on the south side of campus. You might want to bring something to sit on, such as a blanket or chair. Also, remember to "Wear Your Green and Show Your Pride" tomorrow on #TRUEMU College Colors Day.

I know we are going to have a wonderful fall semester and academic year. Campus is beautiful in all seasons -- from fall leaves, to snow, to spring flowers.

Please look for me around campus and say hello. You also can reach me at office_of_the_president@emich.edu.

Susan Martin