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August 16, 2015

Dear University of Miami Community,

Today I begin my tenure as president of the University of Miami. My arrival coincides with the start of a new academic cycle. One of the most wonderful aspects of university life is its sense of constant renewal. The opening of each semester brings to campus an influx of new students, faculty, and staff. Like many of you, I, too, start a new phase of my life today. I arrive with fresh ideas, shared aspirations, and boundless excitement to join the past and current members of the U community in a common journey.

I feel honored to serve as the sixth president of this great institution. Since being named by the Board of Trustees last April, I have spent time immersing myself in the University’s history. I have been impressed by the pivotal role it has played in the growth and prosperity of this city, this region, and beyond. Equally impressive are the contributions that our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and donors have made to advancing research, scholarship, and mutual understanding around the globe. As the University launches into its tenth decade, I believe this is a perfect opportunity to look back at where we have been, to make a close assessment of where we are today, and to use these vantage points to define a roadmap toward our second century.

The University of Miami’s story—past, present, and future—is a collective narrative told by the thousands of individuals who have developed the education, research, service, and spirit of community that are our hallmark. As part of my first 100 days in office, I am initiating an intensive listening project, and I invite you to share with me your aspirations and hopes for the U. My first Town Hall meeting on September 10 will offer an opportunity to hear from you and to learn about the many ways in which we can build on our rich legacy to take the University of Miami to its second century. At that meeting we will define a structured process to collect, collate, and synthesize the suggestions from all members of our community.

The focus on our possibilities and promise must be firmly grounded in our history. In that spirit, I would like to thank my predecessors in the president’s office for their visionary leadership and dedication. I am especially indebted to President Emerita Donna E. Shalala for taking the University to unprecedented heights.

Finally, I am also very grateful for the warm welcome that my family and I have received from our new U community. I feel a bit like a freshman myself, unpacking boxes and anticipating what the years ahead will hold for all of us who will call this remarkable institution our home.

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by UM News on a number of topics. Click here for the videos and story.

I extend my own welcome to all new and returning students, faculty, and staff. Together, we will write the University of Miami’s next chapter.