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Director of Student and Family Relations
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
toll-free: (800) 456-9009
local: (727) 865-7163
Letter from the President
Dear Eckerd College Family,
When students returned to campus for the Spring Semester, we gathered as a community to celebrate the grand opening of the College's extraordinary new facility, the James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences, named for longtime Eckerd supporters Tom James, Executive Chairman of Raymond James Financial, Inc., and his wife, Mary. It was a memorable celebration in the life of the College, marked by the enthusiastic appreciation of students, faculty, staff and our community neighbors. I invite you to read the remarks I offered during the donor celebration for the James Center, "Science and Shakespeare."
The completion of this state-of-the-art facility symbolizes the College's continuing commitment to enhancing our students' academic and student life experiences. To support the inspired work of our faculty and the needs of our students, and to further strengthen our programs and improve facilities, tuition and fees for next year will increase by $1,734 or 3.8%. We know you work hard to support your student's education, and I pledge that we will continue to keep faith with the sacrifice that you are making to send your student to Eckerd College through our careful stewardship of the College's resources.
We continue to affirm, above the voices of those who define education in narrow and shortsighted ways, that a comprehensive liberal arts education—which fosters skills in critical thinking, communication, imaginative problem-solving and collaboration—is the best preparation for life and career. Furthermore, the education that the liberal arts afford offers the nimbleness and adaptability necessary for our graduates to succeed in the global economy. Please see my op-ed, which appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, entitled"No shortcuts to a true education."
In addition to the resources at Eckerd, we strive to provide students with access to the expertise and opinions of today's thought leaders. Campus events and lectures this spring will feature prominent cultural, scientific, political and religious figures and address current national topics.
- Two of the world's leading climate change scientists will offer their insights at the lecture presentation, "Sea Level Rise in Florida: Mitigation, Adaptation or Retreat?" Dr. Pier Vellinga and Dr. Henry Pollack were key contributors to the assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
- A panel discussion entitled "Fix the Debt: Why It Matters," moderated by Rob Lorei, news and public affairs director for a local NPR affiliate, will explore the necessity for a bipartisan, comprehensive debt agreement. Panelists will include James "Jim" Davis, former U.S. Representative (D-Fla.) and partner at Holland & Knight; Paul B. Hernandez, Councilman for the City of Hialeah, Fla.; Mel Martinez, former U.S. Senator (R-Fla.) and chairman of the Southeast and Latin America, JPMorgan Chase & Co.; and Paul Stebbins, executive chairman/CEO of World Fuel Services.
Bolstering our already strong programs in the sciences, Eckerd College recently became a founding member of the International Consortium for Marine Conservation, an organization that will address some of these conservation issues for marine mammals, sea turtles, sea birds and other species in locations worldwide that have been underserved by science-based initiatives. Eckerd's involvement will provide exciting research and internship possibilities for our students. Other ongoing major initiatives at the College include:
- searches for three new full-time tenure track faculty positions (Molecular Biology, Creative Writing, and Psychology);
- renovation of the Sheen Complex classrooms, offices, and computer labs and construction of new teaching and lab spaces for the College's Environmental Studies Program, Physics, Math, and Computer Science;
- transformation of a residential lounge as the next phase of our plan to refurbish the common areas of the seven legacy complexes; and
- collaboration with the Florida Department of Transportation to plan for the installation of a traffic light at the entrance to the College, which recently was approved thanks to the efforts of so many, including hundreds of parents.
Effective world citizenship in the 21st century demands an understanding of our intellectual heritage; insight into complex global political, social, and religious forces; environmental sensitivity; well-honed analytical and communications skills; and a commitment to ethics and the service of others. We believe that Eckerd College, as a residential liberal arts college, provides the finest setting for the development of these skills of world citizenship. I am proud that you and your student have recognized this and have chosen Eckerd College.
All best wishes,
Donald R. Eastman III