Welcome (back) to the University of Iowa! It’s hard to believe the summer is coming to a rapid close and your students will return to campus in a few short weeks. One of my favorite times of year is move-in, when students and families arrive on campus a week before classes begin to move into their residence hall or local apartment homes. The energy on campus and in the city is palpable! I am especially excited this year as this will be my first official move-in at the University of Iowa.
Much like many of you, I, too, am in the midst of a great deal of transition. On June 28, 2017, I relocated to Iowa from the state of Tennessee to become the new vice president for student life here at the UI. Not only is this a new institution, this is my first time living in the Midwest. In many ways, I believe I will have similar experiences as your students. Whether they are a first-time, full-time student or they are returning to the UI for their last academic year, we will share a number of "firsts" together.
- Our "first" move into the new Elizabeth Catlett Residence Hall. Catlett Hall was named after the first African American female Master of Fine Arts graduate from the University of Iowa. Ms. Catlett’s perseverance, strength, and strong advocacy for social justice is a demonstration of encouragement for all 1,049 students who will reside in this beautiful space. I plan to visit Catlett Hall a great deal during the fall term to draw encouragement and energy from the students and staff who will make it their home in a few short weeks.
- Our "first" On Iowa! experience! This initiative is a great way for incoming and transfer students to connect with their peers, learn about the values and expectations of being a University of Iowa student and citizen of our community, immerse themselves in the many traditions of the UI, and, most importantly, gain the skills to be a successful and engaged student at the University of Iowa. It’s great to be a Hawkeye!
- Our "first" home football game opener against the University of Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium. As an avid football fan, I am excited about attending my first B1G football game, learning the fight song, and completely immersing myself in University of Iowa culture. I hope your students will join me there if they are college football fans!
As exciting as the upcoming year will be, there’s also a sense of anxiety and uncertainty about the transition for you, your family, and your students. With over 20 years of experience in higher education, specifically working with college students and families, I can assure you that your students will always need you. You will remain central to their decision making, the lessons and values you’ve instilled in them will be at their core, and they will never forget who helped them reach this important point of their lives.
I look forward to supporting, advocating, and cheering on you and your students during this wonderful adventure at the University of Iowa!
If there’s ever a time I can be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re all part of the Hawkeye family!
Melissa S. Shivers, PhD
Vice President for Student Life