A building boom and superb people are propelling William & Mary into this century. It also helps to have an up-to-date roadmap to chart our way forward. It has been quite a few years since the university undertook an across-the-board strategic look at where we hope to go and how we plan to get there. We just spent a year - the Board of Visitors, faculty, staff, students and alumni - working on a roadmap. It provides a strategic framework that we are now beginning to implement. The result will be an evolutionary process that drives our annual budgeting effort.
Let me mention three central ideas that have emerged from the planning process.
First, William & Mary is one of the world's leading liberal arts universities. We have the strengths of a superb liberal arts college - breadth of study, residential campus, low student-faculty ratio, small classes, an emphasis on student research, close relationships between students and faculty, as well as a strong sense of community; and we couple these strengths with those of a research university that is committed to cutting-edge scholarship and graced with well chosen graduate and professional programs. William & Mary's success in blending the strengths of an extraordinary liberal arts college with those of a serious research university constitute our greatest comparative advantage.
This year we will launch a campus-wide conversation about what it means to pursue the liberal arts in the 21st century. We will explore as well how, within our resources, to become more interdisciplinary, diverse, and international, and how to increase research closely linking faculty with students.
Second, those universities that thrive in this century will be sustained by their alumni. To a remarkable extent, William & Mary's graduates have respect and affection for their alma mater. Drawing on this reality, a crucial mission will be strengthening the lifetime ties between our alumni and the College, while also enhancing the sense of stewardship among alumni for the inheritance shared in William & Mary.
Third, a great many of our students come to the College wanting to change the world and eager to learn how to do it. With increasing efficacy, we need to provide them with the tools. We need to help them develop as leaders both in and beyond the classroom, in civic engagement, athletics, the arts and international programs. We need to give them opportunities to explore, experiment, build teams, and lead change.