Welcome to the 2015-2016 Academic Year!

Dear students, faculty and staff:

The start of fall classes on a college campus is always exciting! I want to wish EVERYONE - new and returning students, new and returning faculty, our tremendous staff - all the best as we start the 2015-2016 Academic Year.

This past weekend was wonderful. It started on Friday with, as always, a very exciting and expertly organized move-in day. The students, families, faculty, staff and alumni all had a chance to attend informative and fun orientation activities, the high-energy Convocation event, and yesterday's fun-filled Fajita Fest. We also had a great time at the football game on Saturday.

Freshman enrollment
While final figures won't be available until mid-September, the University has already enrolled 2,865 first-time freshmen, close to the previous all-time record of 2,872, set in 2013. This year's class also tops 2014 first-time freshman enrollment of 2,555, which was Eastern's third largest class in a decade. Since 2010, Eastern's first-time freshman enrollment has grown by 42 percent. Over the past five years, EMU has the fastest growing freshman enrollment of all the Michigan public universities.

This very positive enrollment trend is supported by our ongoing strategies to invest in campus facilities, focus on financial aid, and maintain tuition restraint. EMU continues to offer the 13th lowest tuition among the 15 Michigan universities. These strategies, coupled with our outstanding faculty and our rigorous and relevant degree programs, have resulted in Eastern attracting students with a continually improving academic profile.

The Honors College
Since 2011, The Honors College has more than doubled its freshman class. This year, the College expects to admit more than 450 first-year students and has a record enrollment topping 1,600 students, up 5 percent over 2014. Later this fall, The Honors College will move into its new home, the former Holy Trinity Chapel on West Forest Street, across the street from Sill Hall on the eastern end of campus. We are in the midst of planning an open house, so everyone can see this tremendous facility.

Diversity of incoming students
The entering freshman class also shows increasing diversity. The number of newly enrolled African-American freshmen, 731, represents 26 percent of the entering class, while the number of newly enrolled Hispanic freshmen, 168, makes up 6 percent of the entering class. The number of African-Americans in this freshman class is an increase of 34 percent over last year, while results for Hispanic students show a 29 percent increase. These percentages are very important, as they underscore that the diversity of our campus is a major priority for Eastern, and an attribute we consider necessary for a high quality education.

Please view the fall enrollment news story for full details.

Tobacco-free campus
On July 1, Eastern’s campus joined many other Michigan universities that are now tobacco free. Over the past year, the university implemented a comprehensive communications campaign to educate the campus on this change. Also, resources were made available to support tobacco users in making adjustments and learning more about cessation programs. If you would like to learn more, please visit our tobacco-free website.

Presidential search
The search for the next President of Eastern Michigan University will start this fall. Information about the search process and opportunities for the entire campus community to participate is being finalized and will be shared with everyone very soon. Additionally, a presidential search website has been created to provide a complete and ongoing communication and information resource about the search.

Other searches and announcements
Other major searches planned for 2015/2016 include the search for a founding Chief Diversity Officer for EMU and the search for the next Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Dean Thomas Venner announced last spring that he would be stepping down after eight years of outstanding leadership.

On October 1, Jill Hunsberger will become Interim Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director of the EMU Foundation. Jill brings great experience and expertise to this position, having joined the Foundation 16 years ago. She has progressively advanced within the Foundation, becoming its Chief Development Officer in 2010. Jill will succeed Linda McGill who has served as Interim Vice President since mid-2014 and led the Foundation to a significant year-to-year increase in fundraising last year. Linda came out of retirement to join EMU in 2010 and has held several positions before assuming this leadership role. I am grateful to Linda for her leadership and I know you join me in wishing her the best as she returns to retirement with her husband. The University plans to conduct a national search to select the next Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director of the EMU Foundation. Planning for that search has recently begun.

Tomorrow’s Welcome Picnic and McKenny Hall Open House
Please join me at tomorrow’s complimentary President’s Picnic and McKenny Hall Open House. The picnic will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. behind Welch Hall. You can also take a tour and enjoy dessert in the newly renovated offices of McKenny Hall.

I want to give everyone a big reminder about the most spirited week on campus, Homecoming. It takes place October 4-10. You can learn more on the Homecoming website.

Again, best wishes to everyone for a great 2015-2016 Academic Year. Thank you all so very much for all you do for Eastern and for our students each and every day.

There is much to be proud of at Eastern Michigan University... and great things ahead!

Kim Schatzel
Interim President, Provost and
Executive Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs