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Message to the Vanderbilt community from Interim Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos

Posted by on Wednesday, August 1, 2007 in News.

To the Vanderbilt Community:

Many universities go into a state of repose, or even hibernation, over the summer. Commencement in our world often marks the end of our cycle and the beginning of renewal, inquiry, and preparation for the next year. Vanderbilt does grow quiet in the summer, but unlike many other universities, our campus remains vibrant and filled with many devoted to our missions of patient care, research, and education.

Yet for all of our summer activity – the patients in our clinics, the summer campers experiencing a college for the first time, the faculty and students continuing the process of discovery and exploration – the peace and pace of summer at Vanderbilt were changed by Chancellor Gordon Gee’s decision to leave Vanderbilt and return to his beloved Ohio State University. All of us, whether newly arrived at Vanderbilt or lifetime members of our community, witnessed Gordon’s breathtaking pace of change and rapid drive to higher levels of excellence over the past seven years.

As we look towards the beginning of a new academic year, we are the same distinguished, dynamic, intellectually stimulating, and caring Vanderbilt as we were when we celebrated Commencement. We are a great University. What we do on this campus every day is noble and unique. We now possess the confidence and boldness to continue our ascent through the front ranks of the nation’s, and world’s, greatest universities. We have achieved beyond our earlier expectations and now stand certain that our aspirations for greater achievement are not simply possible, but imperative. We are stronger than ever.

We will begin this new academic year with a strong foundation and the recent memory of a year of “bests” ever – the best entering classes in our undergraduate and professional schools, the best year for NIH funding, the best year for overall research funding, the best graduate application pool, and the best financial results in our history, among many others. I could continue this list, because each member of the Vanderbilt community in her or his way is aware of the high individual standards set towards our common goal of making this a better world — to do our individual and collective “best.” Together, all of us – more than 11,000 students, almost 22,000 faculty and staff, 120,000 alumni, and countless other friends and supporters around the world — will move this university forward, dedicated to, as our mission statement says, excellence in all endeavors.

I am confident that through our collective efforts and our commitment to Vanderbilt, in a year hence, we will welcome and greet our new Chancellor with a stronger and even more distinguished Vanderbilt, another year of “bests.” Until then, I am honored and humbled to lead, and to serve, this great institution, and I am grateful for your support of Vanderbilt’s future.

Nicholas S. Zeppos

Interim Chancellor
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Professor of Law