Welcome Back Ramapo College! This past week was filled with welcome-back receptions, greeting those who are new to the campus, catching up with those who are returning and checking in with those who were here throughout the summer.
Monday September 1st- Freshman Move-In Day
Finally, the waiting was over and the calm of July and August was replaced by the crackling energy of Labor Day morning as cars lined up Route 202 to drop-off and move in the Ramapo College Class of 2012. Accompanied by my niece's dog Whistler, I walked the campus visiting the residence halls and speaking with parents and students as they unloaded televisions, ipod docking stations, five years' worth of clothing and boxes of pre-college life photos into their new rooms. The compelling mix of excitement and anxiety that radiates both from our students and their families marks the unofficial beginning of the 2008-2009 academic year.
As I addressed the incoming freshman class and then shook their hands as they proceeded through the Ramapo arch, I considered how the group was thus transformed from a data set into the 887 strong Class of 2012 which will leave its mark on Ramapo College. I want to offer a special thank you to the Offices of First -Year Experience, Residence Life, Facilities, Housekeeping, Public Safety, Student Affairs, Enrollment Management and Admissions for organizing, setting up, and executing a wonderful Move-In experience and First Year Assembly.
(To see my remarks to the Class of 2012, click here.)
Tuesday September 2nd - Upperclassman Move-In Day
On Tuesday, the current of energy initiated by the freshmen tripled as the sophomores, juniors and seniors returned to campus. The change in attitude and priorities among students who have already lived in a residence hall is quite noticeable. Arranging a room and unloading the car gave way to greeting old roommates, classmates and friends to compare summers and share expectations for the upcoming year. In a day rounded out by the Annual Roadrunner Picnic and a visit from the cast of The Real World, all four Ramapo classes congregated and shared their first night as a campus.
Wednesday September 3rd - Welcome Back Faculty Reception
On Wednesday, Jackie and I hosted a reception at the Havemeyer House to welcome the faculty back to campus and celebrate the first day of classes. More than 70 faculty members attended, both new and returning, and it was a pleasure to see them and talk about the coming year. I was particularly impressed by the buoyancy of the faculty and their sense of optimism as they look toward the future, an optimism that I share.
Thursday September 4th - Welcome Back Staff Reception
For the first time, Jackie and I also hosted a reception for all of the Ramapo staff whose efforts are so essential to the college's operation. This reception also provided me the opportunity to introduce a new Staff Awards Program, an idea that stemmed from the six sessions Dr. Anne Kearns facilitated in the spring of last year. These awards will not only recognize the leadership and exemplary service of our staff, but will also affirm a culture that places high value on employee effort and achievement. These awards will be implemented for the 2008-2009 Academic Year and will be presented at the June Board of Trustees meeting. We will also create plaques inscribed with winners' names, which will hang in a highly visible spot on campus. While I am still working with the unit directors to develop the mechanism by which the recipients will be selected, I announced the following awards:
1. The Staff Leadership Award (One will be awarded to each classification of employee - Manager, Professional Unionized Staff and Other Unionized Staff):
Awarded to a Ramapo College staff member who, in that academic year, has assumed a leadership role and successfully effected positive change.
2. The Staff Excellence in Service Award:
Awarded to an individual or group who, in that academic year, provided exemplary customer service.