Open Letter to the University Community
October 22, 2003
Normally, following the October meeting of the Board of Regents, I provide an update on the start of the academic year and the recent Board meeting. I have done this through an open forum on each of our three campuses. This is not a normal year for me and therefore I have chosen to update you through this written communication.
First, I want to inform you of the personal health challenge I am currently addressing. Earlier this month I had further evaluation and treatment at Stanford. My treatment for now consists of a reduced schedule and medication to strengthen the heart muscle. It may take some time for the medication to be effective and I am being closely monitored by an excellent cardiologist. I have every reason to be optimistic and expect a full recovery.
Still the business of the University goes on with dedicated faculty and staff and enthusiastic students. The administration of the University proceeds, as well. I meet with each of vice presidents regularly. They are a superb group of leaders, all committed to the continued success of Pacific.
The 2003-04 school year is off to an excellent start. We enjoy record enrollments on all three campuses and student quality is outstanding. The greatest percentage gain in enrollment occurred at our law school, where an entering class of over 420 students was drawn from an applicant pool exceeding 3,000 prospective students. At the same time median LSAT scores jumped two full points, a remarkable gain. The School of Dentistry maintained its standing as one of the nation's most selective dental schools. On the Stockton campus a record freshman class of 818 freshmen joined us and quality indicators remain at all time highs. These accomplishments are due to the combined efforts of an outstanding faculty and dedicated staff.
Our students on the Stockton campus were treated to the opening of the new Pharmacy and Health Sciences Building , the adjacent Brookside Hall, and the expanded Baun Fitness Center. Faculty, staff and students also saw work begin on the Library and Wendell Phillips Hall additions.
Our Campaign, "Investing in Excellence," continues at a good pace. To date we have raised $112 million. At the Board meeting, action was taken on the acceptance of a $1 million gift from Regent Kathy Janssen and her husband Dean. The naming gift is designated for the Multi-Purpose Center , a facility that will be used by athletics and campus recreation. We are grateful to Kathy and Dean for all they have done for Pacific.
Additionally, a $1 million gift was received from John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems. This gift will be used to endow student scholarships in Engineering and Eberhardt School of Business.
At the Board's Academic Affairs Committee a highly informative panel of Pacific faculty discussed their work in the context of the Teacher Scholar Model. The Provost and I are grateful to Larry Spreer for arranging this presentation and especially thank the panel of Gregg Camfield, Anne Moore, Brian Weick and Dean Steve Anderson.
The Finance Committee accepted the proposed 2003-04 budget. The budget includes significant resources for faculty and staff salaries. On the Stockton campus equity increases will bolster faculty and staff compensation. These special increases (beyond the merit pool of 2.5 percent) are the result of special studies and recommendations presented to me in the spring. Over the next four years approximately, additional resources will be invested in faculty and staff compensation beyond the usual annual salary increases. An earlier memo from Pat Cavanaugh explained the staff portion of the plan and recently Provost Gilbertson communicated the plan to Stockton faculty.
In the Board meeting itself, Dean Gary Miller made an outstanding presentation on the role of the College of the Pacific. This type of strategic thinking offers outstanding possibilities for even greater academic distinctiveness for the College of the Pacific and the University.
In addition, please read my report to the Board. I became ill just before I could discuss these priorities with the Council of Deans and the Academic Council, but I look forward to their reaction to this approach.
Finally, I very much appreciate the notes, cards and calls that I have received over the last several days. Although it will be several weeks before I can participate more fully in campus activities, I remain engaged and have discovered one more very good reason for having a residence on campus.