This fall marks a return to in-person classes and events, and it is exciting to be back on campus with students and colleagues! Our classrooms are full, our labs are humming and the frisbees are flying again on Bascom Hill. The university’s COVID-19 protocols are continually adjusted based on the shifting state of the virus. With safe behavior and a campus vaccination rate of more than 90 percent, I am hopeful that we will successfully navigate the fall and winter.
There is much good news to share. UW-Madison welcomed our largest-ever freshman class, with more than 8,400 new students arriving in early September. In October, we celebrate the conclusion of the wildly successful All Ways Forward campaign, which has raised $4 billion for UW-Madison, and $652 million for the College of Letters & Science. Annual giving, too, is on track this year, mirroring strong pre-COVID giving trends. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to alumni whose unwavering support through the hardest of times enabled us to emerge stronger and ready to meet future challenges.
We have great news on capital projects to share. The Wisconsin legislature has approved funding for a new academic building for the College of Letters & Science. Departments and classes currently housed in the deteriorating Humanities Building will be relocated to a modern, interactive and world-class space that will transform the student learning experience.
A new building for our School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences is also underway, paving the way for this powerhouse new unit to meet a global need for students trained in computational thinking, big data, AI and related fields.
Finally – our highly-anticipated new Chemistry Building should open in 2022, and the impact on our STEM programs will be profound.
It feels great to look forward to so much. As always, a heartfelt thank you for all you do to support L&S. It means the world to us.
Eric M. Wilcots, Dean of the College of Letters & Science
Mary C. Jacoby Professor of Astronomy