President's message to faculty and staff on the New Year

Dear Colleagues:

I am writing to convey my very best wishes and sincere thanks to all of you as we wrap up an eventful 2012 and shift our momentum into the next calendar year. The past 12 months have been marked by noteworthy achievement and change. As we reflect on the past year, I believe that we have many reasons to have enormous pride in our accomplishments and look forward with enthusiasm to next year at the UO.

Just a few outstanding examples: Last January, the National Academy of Sciences named UO professor of psychology Michael Posner its 2012 winner of the John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science. Last month, UO chemistry Professor Geri Richmond (also a member of the National Academy of Science) was appointed to the National Science Board – the governing board of the National Science Foundation. That's a very high honor for her and wonderful news for the university.

In between those two events, we have congratulated five new faculty Fulbright scholars: Lisa Marie Gilman, Department of English; James Bradley Goes, strategic management; Garrett Hongo, creative writing; Nicolas Larco, architecture; and David Li, Department of English. Geological sciences Professor Katharine Cashmanbecame a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; biology professor Eric Selker was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and biology professor Bruce Bowerman was elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and seven UO professors (current math faculty members Peter Gilkey and Huaxin Lin; emeritus math professors Charles W. Curtis, William Kantor, Gary Seitz and Lewis Ward; and Eugene Luks, professor emeritus of computer and information science) were among the first class of fellows to be elected into the American Mathematical Society. Our systems biology group was awarded a coveted center grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Meanwhile, a group of UO physicists figured prominently in a search for the Higgs boson particle last summer by an international team at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva.

UO students continued to achieve at the highest levels of accomplishment – seven received prestigious Fulbright scholarships; 24 received Gilman scholarships, three received Goldwater science scholarships and one received a Hollings Scholarship for oceanic and atmospheric science.

Last year we saw many instances of our university's outstanding national reputation. The two most recent freshman classes at the UO were the most academically prepared in our university's history. Our current freshman class has a record number of 402 international students, illustrating the international appeal of our campus. We increased the diversity of our student body and our total enrollment has reached nearly 25,000 students. Despite our growing popularity among prospective students, we do not, of course, turn away any qualified Oregon residents and we never will.

Our campus has also continued evolving to meet the demands of a growing, changing community of students, faculty and staff. The first construction project in 14 years at the Riverfront Research Park got underway with this year's groundbreaking on a new home for two UO spin-out companies: the Oregon Research Institute and the Educational Policy Improvement Center. Then the 103,000-square-foot, $65 million Robert and Beverly Lewis Integrative Science Building opened in October, at about the same time as the $71.5 million, 185,000-square-foot Global Scholars Hall. Allen Hall will reopen at the beginning of winter term, following an extensive renovation and expansion project. Work is expected to begin next summer on an expansion of the Student Recreation Center, and we are in the process of securing funding for renovation projects at Straub Hall and the Erb Memorial Union. We have a ways to go, of course, in meeting our needs for classroom, office and laboratory space. But we are determined to provide the quality environment deserved by our faculty and student body.

Outside of the classroom, our women's cross country team won this year's NCAA national championship, and the women's team placed second at last spring's NCAA Outdoor Track & Field championship. Our women's volleyball team had a spectacular season and played for the NCAA national championship. Our football team had a tremendous year, being selected to play Jan. 3 in the Fiesta Bowl – the program's fourth consecutive BCS bowl game!

Indeed, we have so many points of pride that there are too many to do them all justice in an end-of-the-year letter. And there are more than enough to justify enormous optimism as we move forward.

Our university – and all of you who are part of it – will continue to make us proud in 2013. We will maintain our momentum and actively work to shape our own future as one of the nation's premier public research universities. We will continue to engage actively in the legislative initiative to create institutional boards for the UO and PSU. The public board model that is being crafted is consistent with our objectives to provide the best educational experience to Oregonians and continue to bring the best minds in the world to the UO, enhancing the quality of life for the state, the nation and the world.

This is a great university. Thanks for being part of it and thanks so much for helping to make the past year so memorable. I invite you to join me in anticipating what we will accomplish together in the year to come.

With very best wishes,


Michael R. Gottfredson