Today begins the first day of instruction of the fall 2013 semester at the College of Staten Island. I still recall my feelings, as I would prepare to meet my first class; a mixture of the anxiety always associated with meeting new students and the great joy of returning to the classroom. Now, as I prepare for my first Biochemistry lecture tomorrow, both feelings are causing some physiological turmoil. I know from experience, however, that at the end of tomorrow’s lecture, I will experience the elation that has been associated with teaching students over a 40-year period.
I hope your summers have been ones filled with productivity, regeneration, and the pursuit of your passions. I spent seven weeks at the Weizmann Institute of Science writing, thinking (a rare event of late) and trying to run the College from afar. Now I am back on campus and I am looking forward to another academic year and to collaborating with you. I believe this is a year of great promise for our College. Yesterday and today I had the pleasure of greeting 25 new permanent members of the faculty and eight substitutes. Their attitudes were upbeat and consistent with the energy that usually accompanies the transition from being a mentee and student to being a scholar and teacher. In the afternoon of their first day of orientation, CSI held its Inaugural Freshman Convocation. Nearly 1800 students registered for this event and it looked like most of them attended. The campus was alive and I sensed the pride and enthusiasm of this new cohort of undergraduates. These two events followed on the heels of move-in day at the Dolphin Cove, which took place on Sunday August 25, 2013. It is fair to say that the CSI campus has never been more alive and I am excited by the opportunities that await us. As Provost, I want to thank the various faculty and staff that have participated in NSOs during the summer and our administrative triumvirate, Ira Persky, A. Ramona Brown and Mary Beth Reilly, for their tireless efforts to make registration, move-in day and Freshman Convocation highly successful. On the academic side, I have separately informed you of some changes in the academic administration; Interim Dean Susan Holak, Interim Dean Kenneth Gold and Interim Associate Provost Syed Rizvi have joined the administration, and Special Assistant to the Provost Christine Flynn Saulnier assumed her appointment as a Professor of Social Work. On a personal note, I am grateful for her help this past year and for her contributions to the College. New schools and departments have been established and the first steps to the restructuring of the College and to implementing this structure have been taken. Much remains to be done.
Let me conclude by welcoming you back to the campus. I am hoping 2013-2014 will be a year of faculty growth and initiative and that CSI will move forward and improve as an institution of higher learning. At Freshman Convocation I quoted Wayne Gretzky who said, “You miss 100% of the shots that you do not take.” I urge us all to take our shots, to explore our passions and to take the risks that are inevitably associated with progress. Best wishes for a successful year.
Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry Leonard and Esther Kurtz Term Professor