Welcome to Fall Semester 2014! The Week of Welcome has been a great success, and I hope to see all of you at Convocation tomorrow morning at 10 in Beasley Coliseum for the official kick-off of the new semester!
We are welcoming more than 5,300 new freshmen and transfer students to WSU this fall and are on track for another healthy enrollment. In addition, approximately 130 new scholars are joining our faculty ranks; we welcome them as well.
There also are some new faces and changes in senior leadership that I would like to share as we begin the new academic year. Dr. Chris Keane has joined us as vice president for research, a critical position for our future. Dr. Keane comes to us from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and in my opinion, brings the perfect combination of scientific achievement and experience working with the national research infrastructure to this position.
On the administrative side of the house, Dr. Viji Murali left her position as vice president for information services to become the CIO at University of California Davis. I have asked financial Vice President Roger Patterson to take on the CIO duties on an interim basis until we can conduct a national search for a permanent replacement.
I also have re-assigned the student recruitment and enrollment management functions of the university to Provost and Executive Vice President Dan Bernardo. John Fraire, vice president for student affairs, graciously assumed those additional responsibilities during the budget difficulties of 2008 and has done an incredible job over the past several years growing our enrollment in both numbers and diversity. I thank him for that. However, these functions are fundamentally a part of the academic enterprise and can be better integrated if overseen by the provost. Dr. Fraire will continue to lead the Student Affairs operations at WSU, including Housing and Dining Services, Greek Life, the Dean of Students Office, the Student Recreation Center and Health and Wellness Services.
You may notice some physical changes on the Pullman campus as well. The large hole in the ground of last spring is quickly taking shape as the new PACCAR Environmental Technology Building on Grimes Way. The Football Operations Building was completed on time and on budget, and athletics departments are already settled into their new space. Renovation of the Chief Joseph Village Apartments is underway, as is renovation of the Johnson Annex for a new home for the Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles program.
All of these changes point to a vibrant institution on the go. There is much to look forward to this semester. Welcome and Go Cougs!