October 3, 2019
Dear campus community members,
I am delighted to welcome all of you—students, faculty, and staff—to fall term at the University of Oregon. The start of an academic year always holds the promise of renewal and a fresh start, of making discoveries and insights, creating and re-establishing meaningful connections and friendships, and charting a new course for excellence and success.
One of the new things I am most excited about this year is the leap forward we are making in our efforts to promote student success. This is rooted in the opening of Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall, a beautiful new building that sits in the heart of campus. Here first-year students can explore the UO’s 200+ areas of study within six different educational flight paths, helping them chart their course toward graduation, fulfilling careers, and a successful future. Nearly two dozen newly-hired academic and career advisors are located in Tykeson Hall, and they join scores of other dedicated professionals across campus to help students on their educational journey.
Success can be defined in many ways—at the UO our goal is to ensure every student graduates having had a positive experience that leaves them well educated, socially responsible, and career ready. You can learn more about Tykeson Hall and student success from a story that was recently published on Around the O.
Tykeson Hall is already busy serving our largest incoming class in history—more than 4,500 students from across Oregon, the US, and the world. This class is the most academically prepared (average high school GPA of 3.65, average SAT of 1200) and one of the most diverse (34 percent domestic minority) in UO history. As I heard time and time again during move-in day and convocation, these students have big dreams and aspirations. I am invigorated by their passion!
Speaking of new beginnings and big aspirations, this summer Patrick Phillips, professor of biology, took the reins as our new provost—the chief academic officer of the university. While he is new to this position, he is a veteran of the university, entering his 20th year at the UO. Provost Phillips has unbridled enthusiasm and focused vision for elevating our academic strengths and creating new opportunities for collaboration around the environment, entrepreneurship, and humanistic study, among other areas.
There is a lot to look forward to at the UO this year. Next summer we will open the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, a campus that has already hired faculty, created programming, and has students working as interns in scientific fields. New academic research and degree programs will be proposed shortly. The opening of the new Black Cultural Center, along with the renovations of Justice Bean Hall and the UO Health Center, will improve the living environment, experience, and services enjoyed by our students. In addition, this coming spring Hayward Field will open and immediately become one of the finest track-and-field facilities in the world.
In short, there is so much to be excited about this year. The thing I am most enthusiastic about is the people—you—our students, faculty, and staff who make the University of Oregon such a special place to learn, live, teach, and research.
I am so glad you are all here and I wish you a fantastic year. Go Ducks!
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law