January 6, 2011

A note from Chancellor Zeppos

Dear Vanderbilt Community,

At the beginning of any new year, I tend to pause to reflect on the year that has just passed, and as I do so this year, I am once again in awe of and incredibly grateful for the many contributions you make every day to help this great university fulfill its noble mission.

Last year brought challenges, a few old and a few new, to our campus community. The economy continued to struggle and a historic flood washed over Nashville, bringing devastation to homes, businesses and property. Many members of the Vanderbilt community were impacted, losing nearly all, if not everything.

During this tragedy, I watched as Vanderbilt faculty, staff and students immediately pulled together to help colleagues who were hurting. An impressive University-wide effort to marshal resources for those in need at the institution and in the greater community proved to be an effective way to help, and the Vanderbilt community generously contributed financially to a special fund created to help with flood relief. It was, quite simply, what Vanderbilt as community does: we care for each other.

Because of its uncertainty, the economy continued to present challenges, but through your continued and careful stewardship of University resources, we were able to give modest raises and continue to thrive as an institution of higher learning, discovery and patient care.

As we begin 2011, there are signs that the economy is recovering, but we must continue to be strategic and disciplined in our budgeting to ensure readiness should another downturn occur. Additionally, the federal budget situation will have to be addressed to ensure the future prosperity and promise of our great nation. With substantial revenue coming from our national government, we are sure to be affected.

I am so grateful for all you have done and continue to do to help secure the financial stability of our University, which is of utmost importance to our ability to carry out the mission.

As we head into the first weeks of this new year, I want to assure you that Vanderbilt is stable, strong and succeeding on nearly all levels. As one University, we are poised to seize the opportunities and to navigate the challenges that 2011 will undoubtedly bring us, and I am heartened by the fact that we will do so together.

You have my deep gratitude for all you do for Vanderbilt. It is my great privilege to serve as your Chancellor, and I wish you health and happiness for the new year.

Nicholas S. Zeppos