This Veterans Day we pause to honor the generations of extraordinary Americans—among them, past and present members of the Caltech community—for their service to our country as part the United States Armed Forces. These women and men are our friends, relatives, neighbors, and colleagues. They are Caltech faculty, staff, and students who answered our nation's call in its hour of need, and who embody our tradition of service to society.
A new school year is underway, and I would like to celebrate some recent milestones reflecting our hard work and devotion to excellence. Caltech is #1! Yesterday we learned that the Institute has been rated as the number one university in the 2011–2012 Times Higher Education global ranking of the top 200 universities, knocking Harvard University out of the top spot for the first time in the survey’s eight-year history.
On Sunday, our nation will mark the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11. I was reflecting on this milestone, and on the turbulent character of this past decade, when I heard an interview with columnist Tom Friedman on the challenges facing the U.S. right now.
In his third annual Town Hall address to the Caltech community, President Jean-Lou Chameau looked back at the last academic year—from its game-changing research to its streak-ending basketball games—and considered the year to come.
It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Board of Trustees has approved my recommendation that Peter B. Dervan, Bren Professor of Chemistry, be appointed Vice President for Development and Institute Relations. Professor Dervan will serve on an interim basis while we conduct the search for a new vice president for Development and Institute Relations.
To the Caltech community, As many of you know, one of our own—Nobel Laureate Ahmed Zewail—has been in Cairo for the past two weeks. In a phone conversation I had with Ahmed this weekend, he said, "It is exhilarating to be part of this historic transition, to watch the emotions and joy of the Egyptian people, and to be able to give back in any way I can; it is a defining experience in one's lifetime."
As in my year-end message in December, I plan to continue sharing personal communications with the Caltech community at various times throughout the year. From the President's Outbox will feature a variety of topics involving Caltech students, faculty, and staff.
Jean-Lou Chameau, the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been named the new president of the California Institute of Technology. He will take office on or before September 1.