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Academic Year End Message

June 13, 2016

To: The Caltech Community
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President and Sonja and William Davidow Presidential Chair and Professor of Physics
Date: June 13, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

June is a natural time to think of transitions. Newly minted Caltech graduates flow from Pasadena across academia, industry, and society, fearless if not yet confident about solving problems that matter. On the horizon is a new retinue of enthusiastic young people, ready to reinvigorate the spirit of the Institute and remind us of why we choose to be part of the academic enterprise. We transition from the classroom to SURF and savor uninterrupted time for research.

It has been a year of transitions. LIGO opened a new window on the universe, ushering in the age of gravitational wave observatories. Frances Arnold became the first woman to win the Millennium Technology Prize, engineering proteins through directed evolution to produce therapeutic drugs and chemicals. We passed from the private to the public phase of BreakThrough: The Caltech Campaign, surpassing 50% of the campaign goal of $2 billion, the largest goal by any measure (faculty count, student population, alumni number) for an institution of Caltech's size. Vice Presidents Michael Watkins and Margo Steurbaut will succeed long-time leaders, Charles Elachi and Dean Currie, carrying forward a legacy of excellence and vision.

At times of transition, it is also necessary to remind ourselves of the traditions and values that make Caltech special. We are a community dedicated to the full and open exchange of ideas, to valuing diverse perspectives, to collaborating across the disciplines in the service of discovery. We are fearless and ambitious, but also cognizant of the constant demand to improve. May this summer be a time of balance for us all between transitions and traditions.


Thomas F. Rosenbaum
Sonja and William Davidow Presidential Chair and Professor of Physics