Legacy Lunch Remarks

Good morning.  I am so happy to welcome you to the Mary Ann Lee Plaza.  This lovely gathering space was formally dedicated just 6 weeks ago and creates a wonderful place for alumni and friends to renew old friendships, and for students to begin new friendships that we hope will last a lifetime.    

In preparation for Webster’s Centennial in 2015, we have been busy at Webster, thinking about the future and what that will look like, and what we’ll need to do to get us to where we want to be.  It has been a big task, with constituent groups from throughout the Webster community dedicating themselves to an important process that is vital to the institution’s future well being.  We have sought input and ideas from every corner of the campus community, including our neighbors in Webster Groves.  The resulting document has been the creation of a campus master plan, overwhelmingly approved by Webster’s Trustees, that defines our priorities and sharpens our focus on those things that support academic excellence.

So what does that plan mean for us in the near future?  For starters, it means a new interdisciplinary sciences building, which will bring those traditional academic disciplines such as biology, chemistry, and physics together with relatively new Webster programs such as nurse anesthesia.  It is part of Webster’s commitment to growing STEM related academic programs and thoughtfully integrating them in a physical space where interaction with students from the other arts and sciences disciplines becomes a common occurrence.  We expect to break ground on this new facility in the next year.  It, along with our recently opened East Academic Building, will comprise the academic core of our evolving campus plan.  To make way for this next phase, we will address campus parking needs by beginning work on an expansion of our parking garage this summer.  To fully understand the breadth of our aspirations for this campus and our students I invite you to visit our website to view the detailed campus master plan. 

To achieve our vision will take the commitment of the many friends, alumni, corporations, foundations and community members who have come to value Webster’s mission.  And this leads us here today as we recognize and honor you, our Legacy Society members.  You have made a significant and lasting decision to make a gift from your estate to further Webster’s mission, and I must tell you with all sincerity, that your generous act will indeed “leave a legacy” at Webster University.  We cannot achieve the long term goals we have carefully crafted for the University without you.  We are indebted to you and extraordinarily grateful to you for your generosity.  Thank you!

This morning we would like to share some deeper insights into how the School of Communications, our fastest growing school, is thinking about the future, the future of communications.  Eric Rothenbuhler, Dean of the School of Communications, joined Webster in August 2012.  He was previously Associate Dean of the Scripps College of Communication and professor of media arts and studies at Ohio University, director of the media studies MA program at New School University and a faculty member at the University of Iowa and Texas A&M University.  Eric holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.  Please join me in welcoming Eric Rothenbuhler.