Welcome Back Spring 2012

Uploaded by UniversityArkansas on 13.01.2012

Hi. I hope everyone had a wonderful winter break and best wishes for a happy New Year.
I want to welcome you back to the 2012 spring semester, and thank everyone who joined us
in celebrating the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. yesterday. It
was a great start to the semester. We ended the calendar year with a winter commencement
ceremony, the first in 40 years. It was very well attended by graduates, parents, faculty,
and staff. Over 1,200 students graduated in December, and we awarded honorary degrees
to long-serving Arkansas congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt and to Ernest Gideon Green,
a member of the Little Rock Nine and the first African American to graduate from Central
High School. While we were able to give modest raises last
year to faculty and staff, rest assured we know salaries are still too low compared to
our benchmark institutions. To our great disappointment, we have not received the increases in State
revenue that would allow us to compensate our faculty and staff at an appropriate level
and know that our heavy dependence on tuition and fees places an added burden on our students.
During these tough economic times, we are grateful to have a governor who understands
the value of higher education and its importance to the State of Arkansas, and is committed
to helping the U of A fulfill its great potential. Several new facilities are opening this spring,
including new fitness and technology centers in the Arkansas Union, as well as the Epley
Center for Health Professions, which will house the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing and
Communications Disorders. We expect to have the Pi Beta Phi Centennial Gate completed
by this summer, and the Hillside Auditorium and the Jean Tyson Child Development Study
Center before the start of the fall semester. These are only a few of the many campus improvements
currently underway to enhance the academic quality of our university and provide new
classroom space. I ask your continued patience as we enhance
the campus with the restoration and refurbishment of several campus buildings. It is all intended
to make our university the best it can be. We just wrapped up another tremendous football
season, concluding with a victory over Kansas State University in the Cotton Bowl. I'd like
to thank everyone who traveled to Dallas to support the Hogs and who participated in our
service project with Mission Arlington-I know they appreciated the helping hands.
Whether this is your first day on campus or your last semester, we're glad you're here,
and we wish you the best this spring. In a few short months, our senior class will be
leaving with college degrees. If you're a graduating senior, I sincerely hope you enjoy
the last few months of your college experience. Again, welcome back and enjoy the semester.