Letter from President Wiewel, July 22
Dear Lewis & Clark Community,
As we approach August, it is a ritual in higher education to think, “Where did the time go?” This year the accounting is simple: We have been busy preparing for a return to normal operations in the fall, and taking much-needed time away when we can.
While COVID has not yet been vanquished, at Lewis & Clark we are well situated to begin the fall fully in-person. Our students are required to be vaccinated by September 15, and already more than 95 percent of our faculty and staff report being fully vaccinated. We’ll still have certain safety measures and plans in place, of course, but for the first time in 18 months, campus life will be immediately recognizable–less distant and more rewarding.
A good thing too, because we are preparing to welcome our largest class ever in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the largest class since the Great Recession in our Law School. In the CAS, we implemented new avenues to provide greater access and equity for historically underrepresented students: A total of 199 BIPOC students accepted our offer of admission, making up 28 percent of the class, the second highest in our history. The last year was a challenge with respect to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, but we were still able to make progress in our work. Enrollment in the Graduate School of Education and Counseling is strong, and for many students the academic year is already underway.
On June 17, we publicly launched our comprehensive fundraising campaign, “Exploring for the Global Good,” with a worldwide virtual event and a smaller in-person gathering in the Estate Garden. Over the last four years, we’ve raised $100 million toward our $155 million goal to support the people, places, and programs that make Lewis & Clark such a special and enduring place. In this last year of my presidency, I am eager to get back on the road to talk to alumni and friends about how they can support Lewis & Clark, as well as spread the word about the great work that we do. We already have four campaign kickoff events planned: Denver (September 28), the Twin Cities (September 30), Washington, DC (November 2), and New York (November 4). More to come!
This winter, we will begin a significant renovation of our student center to convert it from a somewhat uninspiring and transactional space to the heart of a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly campus. Planned renovations include an overhaul of the Trail Room dining facility, significantly improved accessibility, the relocation of student organization facilities to a visible “main street,” the creation of more flexible event spaces, and more. In honor of a generous gift from our Board Chair Stephanie Fowler’s husband, Irving Levin, the building will be renamed as the Stephanie J. Fowler Student Center. Thank you, Irving and Stephanie!
Speaking of family, I’m happy to report that the number of people back on campus is already beginning to pick up as we prepare for the new school year. I’m looking forward to welcoming incoming undergraduates during New Student Orientation and Parents and Family Preview, beginning on August 25. We are ready and excited for what you will add to our community.
As faculty, staff, and students know, the search for the next president for Lewis & Clark has begun, and input sessions have been scheduled. If you wish to know more about the search process, please learn more about it here. Know that I will be fully engaged through next June and look forward to being a resource for my successor.
In the meantime, now that our community seems to have made it through the worst of the pandemic, I look forward to a return to a new normal. We could not have gotten to this enviable place without the dedication, creativity, and camaraderie that everyone has exhibited over the last year and a half. I can think of no better group of people with whom to rise to the challenges of the day. Thank you!
I hope to see you in-person soon.