May 20, 2010

Message from the Chancellor

Dear Colleagues:

The days and weeks after Commencement present us with a quieter campus with many of our students on summer break. However, in a few short months we will be welcoming a new freshman class, refreshed and recharged returning students, as well as new faculty and staff colleagues.

The time after Commencement also provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the events and progress made over the course of the past academic year. By any measure, Vanderbilt has had an outstanding year made even more so in the face of the formidable economic challenges and the sudden unprecedented flooding of our region. For your steadfast dedication and commitment that has sustained the institution through these challenging times, I extend my thanks and sincere appreciation.

Vanderbilt remains strong financially but the environment in which we are operating is volatile, uncertain, and challenging. Local, national, and global economic forces continue to present sudden and troublesome conditions that demand our cautious attention.

I am pleased to announce, however, that we will be able to provide modest but competitive salary increases and continue our strong offering of attractive benefits. I am also pleased that, unlike many of our peers, we will not be laying off, instituting furloughs, reducing benefits, or taking drastic measures such as eliminating large numbers of programs. I always wish that we could provide more, but these enormous challenges demand that we proceed with moderation, not over-responding and then be forced to take Draconian actions where those in our community would lose their jobs. I look forward to times of greater clarity and prosperity, just as all of you do.

To further our efforts toward that time of greater clarity and prosperity, members of our senior leadership team will not receive pay increases for the coming fiscal year. I have also asked the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust to continue to hold my compensation to a substantially reduced level, as was done in the previous year, and instead to direct that money to the Faculty and Staff Hardship Fund and the Vanderbilt Flood Relief Fund.

You will be receiving additional communication relating to your individual compensation from your deans, department chairs, or supervisors in the coming weeks. As always, I thank you for all that you do to make Vanderbilt a truly great university.


Nicholas S. Zeppos