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October 2013
Board of Regents President Gregory W. Gray Colleagues,

I am pleased and honored to have come to Connecticut to develop a world-class system of higher education. We live in a unique time in history-a time when our value in education, research, workforce development, and innovation is not only recognized, but in fact publicly invoked by our Governor and even by President Obama. Right now we have a unique opportunity-the chance to celebrate the excellence in our system and affect the change that will expand excellence to the benefit of our students, faculty, and the entire community for many, many years.

As you may know, I've embarked on a tour of all 17 campuses to talk about the plan to build excellence into our system wherever we can. At heart I'm a teacher, so I enjoy being part of the energy and vitality of the ten campuses I've visited, and the opportunity to listen to the people on the front lines of higher education is important. It is clear that in every one of our colleges and universities we have excellent people-and we will continue building on this foundation. Our system is currently recruiting several positions, and our colleges and universities are searching for more than 80 faculty members and counselors.

Building our new system requires intense strategic planning, and I'm pleased to report we are moving along in this effort. Our top priority is to strengthen student learning, which means capitalizing on the strengths of our faculty, improving internship and apprenticeship opportunities with the private sector, and staying true to our mission to be Connecticut's system of higher education.

To that end we will take a team to SUNY this fall to talk to administrators about modeling our ConnSCU system after the SUNY system. These conversations will serve as an entry point in explaining better ways to impact student learning and build a world-class system of higher education.

Some examples of excellence in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system:

Drs. Merle Harris and Carmen Cid are two of the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame 2013 Education and Empowerment honorees. We are proud to count Merle and Carmen among the talent here at the Board of Regents.

Southern Connecticut State University President Mary Papazian and her team secured a $3 million commitment from the Werth Family Foundation to benefit STEM curriculum at SCSU. This is a prestigious foundation and we are deeply appreciative of their generosity and their commitment to Connecticut's students.

Capital Community College (pdf) and Housatonic Community College were both awarded federal grants to enhance programs related to information technology, public safety, construction, and emergency responders. Capital CC, awarded a federal grant of $2.3 million, and Housatonic CC, awarded a grant of $2.2 million, were part of a seven college, four-state Northeast Resiliency Consortium led by Passaic Community College in NJ and the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant. Congratulations to both.

The Board of Regents was awarded the 2013 Award for Institutional Innovation and Integration by the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) for its entry, "Manufacturing Centers Initiative," in recognition of the three new advanced manufacturing centers launched last fall at Naugatuck Valley, Housatonic, and Quinebaug Valley Community Colleges.

These are but a few examples of outstanding performance throughout our system. The road to excellence is our journey with our destination being the establishment of a world-class system of higher education.

So many of us are standing together right now on this journey towards excellence - our ConnSCU faculty, staff, and students, our political and community leaders, and members of the business community. It bodes well for building a world-class higher education system, one that holds true to our mission: student learning is our top priority.

Sincerely,
Gregory W. Gray
Gregory W. Gray
President
Board of Regents for Higher Education
Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (ConnSCU)



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©2013 Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education