It has been an amazing fall semester here at Wheelock. Our largest-ever incoming class and our returning students enjoyed not only the many physical improvements we made to our beautiful campus over the summer, but also an abundance of programs and events that celebrated both academic excellence and the spirit of social commitment that makes Wheelock such a special place.
Two highlights of the semester included our annual International Week, featuring thought-provoking lectures plus a joyous performance by South Africa’s Sharon Katz and the Peace Train , and the screening of Education Under Fire—a film about the right to higher education—which included a live panel discussion led by human rights activist and actor Rainn Wilson .
There has also been an incredible amount of behind-the-scenes activity at Wheelock this fall, all designed to ensure the College remains strong and vibrant well past its upcoming 125 th anniversary. We are nearing completion of our 10-year Strategic Plan, a truly collaborative process that involved students, faculty, alumni, and staff at all levels. In addition, the College kicked off an unprecedented capital campaign in October that will allow us to create our first-ever endowments for student scholarships, professorships, technology, and innovation. The response to this appeal has been extremely gratifying; we have already raised $54.8 million toward our $80 million goal.
We will be hosting many more exciting programs and events in the spring semester, including a not-to-be-missed Half-Year program focusing on diversity and featuring a keynote address by Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons , one of the founding members of the influential hip hop group Run-D.M.C. and a practicing minister.
We are also looking forward to a spectacular Commencement 2012, which will feature Oscar-nominated actress Jane Alexander as keynote speaker. For the first time, we will be holding separate ceremonies for our undergraduate and graduate classes, allowing our amazing students to share this special event with more family members and friends.
Wheelock is a truly unique institution, full of people who are driven to make a difference in society. Based on the stellar applications we’ve received for fall admission, Wheelock’s Class of 2016 will be as inspirational a group of student leaders as their predecessors.
The best way to get a real feeling for what Wheelock is all about is to visit our Boston campus. We hope to see you on campus soon.