A Splendid Graduation, Faculty Honors and Looking Forward to Fall

Three faculty members with signs saying "you did it" and "congratulations."
MTU faculty holding congratulatory signs for the outdoor strolling celebration.

Greetings from the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech!

Spring semester ended on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon when we hosted an outdoor graduation parade of sorts. Graduates from the past two years and their families and friends walked to various stations around campus while we faculty lined the way in our academic regalia and the Husky Pep Band provided musical entertainment. In the Rozsa lobby was a replica graduation stage for photo ops while Pomp and Circumstance played in the background. It was wonderful to see colleagues face to face for a change. Some, including my boss the Provost, I had not seen outside of Zoom in more than a year! More than one of my colleagues suggested we continue this tradition in future years in lieu of the lengthy formal ceremony.

Our incredible faculty finished the year strong with some really notable honors. Biological Sciences Professor Thomas Werner was awarded “Distinguished Professor of the Year” from the Michigan Association of State Universities. Thomas brings this award back to Tech after an eight-year hiatus. His outstanding work in the classroom and laboratory, and especially mentoring undergraduate researchers, made this a well-deserved honor.

Over in the Physics department, Professor Robert Nemiroff was named a “University Professor,” the highest honor we bestow on faculty. There are currently four University Professors at Tech, and three are from the College of Sciences and Arts! I highly recommend checking out his site Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Finally, in Social Sciences, Dr. Nancy Langston received the Distinguished Scholar award from the American Society for Environmental History. This is the highest honor in her field, and recognizes a lifetime of scholarly achievement.

At the recent Board of Trustees meeting, nine of our faculty received tenure and two others were promoted to Full Professor. Congratulations to them all!

As the May 1 deadline passed, we got the exiting news that university-wide, our deposits for new students are up 22% over last year and are the highest in 10 years. CSA outperformed even this number, with our deposits up 30%! We are looking forward to bringing in a record-breaking incoming class in the Fall!

President Koubek has announced our intention to return to normal conditions and normal classroom capacities in the Fall, and planning is underway to do that. About 50% of the Western UP has already been vaccinated, and I was grateful to receive my second shot a few weeks ago.

Critical to everything we do are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. They will play an even bigger role over the next year with decreased state support expected. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! Our site has more about CSA giving opportunities. https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

Blizzard T. Husky mascot hugs a graduate.
A photo opportunity under balloons and with MTU mascot Blizzard T. Husky proved popular.

New Faculty Books and a Thank You to Donors — Spring 2021

Greetings from the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech!

Spring has arrived early here in the Copper Country. The last full weekend of skiing at Mont Ripley a few weeks ago featured sunshine and 60-degree temperatures and all across campus grass is showing through the remaining piles of snow.

Meanwhile students are back on campus after spring break, and our large COVID surveillance testing on their return has only detected 12 campus cases in the last 14 days. President Koubek has announced our intention to return to normal conditions and normal classroom capacities in the fall, and planning is underway.

More than a third of the Western UP has already been vaccinated, and I welcomed my first shot!

We recently received exciting news that our health research building (temporarily dubbed “H-STEM”), is back on track after a year of covid-induced uncertainty. Faculty across campus are currently working on designing the research and teaching lab spaces. Groundbreaking is tentatively slated for about a year from now. It would be finished near the end of 2022.

I have taken some time recently to read some of our new faculty books. Our professor emeritus Jim Spain, the founding chair of our biological sciences department, has a fascinating autobiography out, Perusing for Pioneer Pathways, documenting his incredible life, much of it here in the Copper Country. Dr. Spain will be inducted this fall into our distinguished Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Book cover of Performing Math

As a mathematician I took particular interest in a new book from our Humanities Professor Andrew Fiss, titled Performing Math: A History of Communication and Anxiety in the American Mathematics Classroom, published by Rutgers University Press. The book is a wonderful combination of history and technical communication with relevance to today’s mathematics classroom.

In my ‘to read’ pile are two books from Humanities Professor Patty Sotirin, including Feminist Vigilance, with MTU colleagues Victoria Bergvall and Diane Shoos, and also Making Data in Qualitative Research, applying a humanities perspective to data collection.

Our recruiting season is well under way as hundreds of prospective students visit this week for “Preview Week” and many more are attending virtual events this week. Applications are at record highs! Our deposits are slightly trailing last year’s but rapidly catching up as financial aid packages go out. Many of these were delayed due to the difficulties students encountered with taking standardized tests.

Critical to everything we do are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. They will play an even bigger role over the next year with decreased state support expected. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! For CSA giving opportunities please visit: https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

 If you are ever back in town I hope you will stop by, say hello, and share with me your MTU story. Please do not hesitate to email me any time at djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.

Best wishes,

David Hemmer
Dean – College of Sciences and Arts


Return to the Classroom-January 2021

January 15, 2021

Greetings from the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech!

Students return to the classroom next Tuesday after being forced to be remote for the first week of the semester to comply with the Governor’s Covid orders. We are trying to provide as much face to face instruction as possible this semester, including holding classes in the Rosza Center and the MUB ballroom!

Winter Carnival remains a go, and statue construction has begun. But, alas, there is a severe shortage of snow and it is currently raining outside my office window! Across the canal at Mont Ripley, only half the ski hill is open and warm weather has hindered snow making. The Tech Trails have just closed for cross-country skiing. For the first time since I arrived at Tech we are in desperate need of snow! Fortunately, the forecast calls for a shift to much colder weather next week, and hopefully some more of the white stuff.

Our faculty and staff continue their great work dealing with the pandemic. Despite the disruptions, Fall 2020 was a great semester for research and creative activities in the College of Sciences and Arts! Mary Cyr, Lecturer in Visual and Performing Arts, was the first honoree for the 2021 “Dean’s Teaching Showcase.” Cyr runs the costume shop, teaches our costuming classes, and oversees costuming for all our student theater productions. Her ingenious use of document cameras and monitors, as well as constructing take-home kits, allowed our students to preserve the essential hands-on experience that is part of every Tech education.

We are continuing our aggressive testing and contact tracing program, I hope for the last semester! A generous donation of equipment from the Portage Health Foundation has helped us double our testing capacity on campus, and the goal is to test almost all the returning students very early in the semester. Vaccinations are underway locally, with nursing homes, health care providers and first responders mostly complete.

Meanwhile our recruiting season is here, as we attempt to bring in another large, crazy smart and diverse class next year! Completed applications for CSA are up 40% from last year, with huge increases in students interested in health professions.

Some of you have already heard from our new Director of Advancement, Karin Van Dyke. Many of you have worked with Ben Larson over the years; Ben is now the Houghton County Administrator! Karin is a proud Tech alumna who was previously Director of Advancement at Finlandia University. She is looking forward to connecting with many of you in the months ahead.

Critical to everything we do are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. They will play an even bigger role over the next year with decreased state support expected. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! For CSA giving opportunities please visit:  https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

If you are ever back in town I hope you will stop by, say hello, and share with me your MTU story. Please do not hesitate to email me any time at djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.


Last Day of Fall 2020 Semester

December 18, 2020

Greetings from the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech!

It is the last day of this strange semester, and I am getting ready to don my full academic regalia for departmental graduation ceremonies over Zoom. When I last did this in May I would never have believed it would happen again in December. With COVID vaccinations underway, including in the UP, I’m hopeful that I will be shaking students’ hands at our commencement next May!

Despite our wonderful efforts and very low COVID numbers on campus, a spike in cases across Michigan led our governor to end face to face instruction early and students were mostly sent home before Thanksgiving. We will, hopefully, welcome them back January 11 and continue our success at providing Tech’s signature hands-on learning in a safe environment.

Across the canal the snow guns are blazing at Mont Ripley, which is fortunate as we’ve had only a few inches of natural snow so far. Opening day is tomorrow, with modifications including outdoor tents set up for warming up and eating. Heading into my third season of skiing, I’m looking forward to trying some of the scarier trails this winter!

I am so proud of the work of our faculty and students dealing with this pandemic. Despite the disruptions, fall 2020 has been a great semester for research and creative activities in the College of Science and Arts! Our superstar Physics Professor Petra Huentemeyer is principal investigator on a recently awarded $860,000 NSF grant to help design a $50 million Southern hemisphere gamma-ray observatory as part of a large collaboration of astrophysicists that she leads. Professor Huentemeyer is currently a leader in the HAWC observatory, https://www.hawc-observatory.org/, located high on a volcano in Mexico!

Our fall student theatre production of Miasma turned into a movie, ingeniously filmed in the McArdle theater with full COVID precautions. See how the students did it here https://youtu.be/y4dQZxHMBfs.

Both our Army and Air Force ROTC programs have new commanders, and eleven new 2nd lieutenants will be commissioned tomorrow morning in our thriving Army and Air Force ROTC programs.

Some of you have already heard from our new Director of Advancement, Karin van Dyke. Many of you have worked with Ben Larson over the years; Ben is now the Houghton County Administrator! Karin is a proud Tech alumna who was previously Director of Advancement at Finlandia. She is looking forward to connecting with many of you in the months ahead.

Critical to everything we do are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. They will play an even bigger role over the next year with decreased state support expected. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! For CSA giving opportunities please visit:  https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

If you are ever back in town I hope you will stop by, say hello, and share with me your MTU story. Please do not hesitate to email me any time at djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.

Best wishes,

David Hemmer


First Snow – Fall Break 2020

October 16, 2020

Greetings from the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech!

Looking out my window, the first sticking snow of the year has arrived. Two inches of wet and very slippery snow has already come down and the temperature has dropped almost to freezing. I suppose I shouldn’t complain, it is four days later than last year and comes after a truly beautiful summer and early Fall!

Campus is quiet as the students are off Thursday and Friday this week for our new “Fall Break.” We started classes two days early and added this time to give us more flexibility if we needed to pivot to fully remote instruction at some point during the semester. I have already heard from both students and faculty that the break is very much appreciated; it would not surprise me if it becomes a permanent addition to our academic calendar.

Michigan Tech has played a huge role recently in the local fight against COVID. In late September cases surged in the UP, with cases in Houghton County briefly over 700/million/day, the highest in Michigan. Together with our local K-12 schools, we took a two week pause on most face to face instruction and dedicated our campus testing capacity to the local community. We also hosted a drive thru event on campus where more than 600 tests were done in a single day. These efforts, together with the actions of our community, have led to a 75% drop in daily new cases in the past two weeks. 

On campus the numbers are promising and improving, with only one positive in our last 300 surveillance tests and 31 total cases in the last 14 days, less than half the total early in the semester. In a few weeks, some new equipment will arrive that will double our testing capacity.

In my office, we welcomed a new Director of Advancement, Karin Van Dyke. Many of you have worked with Ben Larson over the years; Ben is now the Houghton County Administrator! Karin is a proud Tech alumna who was previously Director of Advancement at Finlandia University. She is looking forward to connecting with many of you in the months ahead.

Despite the pandemic, this past year was a record-setting one for faculty researchers in Sciences and Arts. New external research funding totaled $10.6 million in 2019-20, a new record and up from $6.7 the previous year, an increase of 58%! Meanwhile our incoming CSA class was the second largest in the last five years. With the wonderful variety of interesting majors we offer and the dedicated recruiting efforts of our faculty and advisors, this is not surprising. We are already beginning our faculty recruitment for next Fall to build on this momentum.

Critical to everything we do are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. They will play an even bigger role over the next year with decreased state support expected. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! For CSA giving opportunities please visit:  https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

If you are ever back in town I hope you will stop by, say hello, and share with me your MTU story. Please do not hesitate to email me any time at djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.


Campus Life – Fall 2020

Greetings from the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech!

As I sit in my Walker Arts & Humanities Center office after five months of almost total silence, it is wonderful to hear the sounds of the great Husky Pep Band, outside my open window, learning the Michigan Tech Fight Song and other classics like “The Engineers.” Today’s rehearsals seem to be socially distanced sectionals, so there are often 2 or 3 fight songs being played, unfortunately not in unison! It is a real sign that campus is returning to something resembling normalcy and it greatly lifts my spirits to stand at the window listening.

Our battle against COVID continues. Using our own testing lab in the Great Lakes Research Center, we tested almost 2000 students as they moved into the dorms. Nine positive cases were put in quarantine, and contact tracing is being handled by MTU in partnership with the Western UP Health Department. Our surveillance testing program is underway, and will run at least 600 tests a week. We are also doing wastewater testing in multiple campus dormitories to detect any possible outbreaks as early as possible.

Out on the campus the hammocks are up, frisbees are in the air, and masked students stream between classes with a bit more space than usual between them.

Meanwhile our faculty research is back in full swing. I had the opportunity last week to tour the research lab of Dr. Steve Techtmann, assistant professor of Biological Sciences and one of the young rising stars on our faculty. Steve is an environmental microbiologist who is the lead researcher on a recently awarded $1 million + grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The project, in collaboration with faculty in Chemical Engineering, hopes to turn plastic waste into protein (i.e. food!). As I understand it, the chemical engineers turn the plastic into something resembling petroleum. Then Steve and his custom bacteria come in and turn it into protein. Steve has extensive expertise on the role microbial communities play in breaking down oil spills.

Despite the pandemic, this past year was a record-setting one for faculty researchers in the College of Sciences and Arts. New external research funding totaled $10.6 million in 2019-20, a new record and up from $6.7 the previous year, and increase of 58%! Meanwhile our incoming CSA class is the second largest in the last five years. With the wonderful variety of interesting majors we offer and the dedicated recruiting efforts of our faculty and advisors, this is not surprising.

Critical to everything we do are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. They will play an even bigger role over the next year with decreased state support expected. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! For CSA giving opportunities please visit:  https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

If you are ever back in town I hope you will stop by, say hello, and share with me your MTU story. Please do not hesitate to email me any time at djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.


Return to Campus

July 27, 2020

Greetings from the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech!

It is a beautiful summer day in Houghton, and an exciting day on campus as we enter the third and final step of our “Return to Campus” plan, more than four months after most of us hastily vacated our offices due to COVID.  Campus buildings are open and unlocked, most faculty and staff can return to their offices and labs, and campus tours have resumed. Of course, reminders of the ongoing pandemic are everywhere: daily symptom checking, mandatory face masks, reduced capacity in classrooms, and continued meetings over Zoom!

Our faculty and staff are busy preparing to safely welcome students back to campus. Classroom capacities have been reduced, many large lectures have moved online, and laboratory classes are being adjusted to maintain our signature hands-on learning style while keeping every safe. Our faculty and graduate students managed to, starting from scratch, get a COVID testing lab set up and certified. The lab, which offers drive-thru testing on campus, hopes to process 500 tests per day this Fall, and will play a key role in helping us reopen safely. You can read the latest details on all our plans here: https://www.mtu.edu/flex/

Despite the pandemic, this past year was a record-setting one for faculty researchers in Sciences and Arts. New external research funding totaled $10.6 million in 2019-20, a new record and up from $6.7 the previous year, and increase of 58%!

Meanwhile our incoming CSA class is only five students below last fall and the second largest in the last five years. With the wonderful variety of interesting majors we offer and the dedicated recruiting efforts of our faculty and advisors, this is not surprising.

Critical to everything we do are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. They will play an even bigger role over the next year when we expect decreased state support and possible enrollment declines in the Fall. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech!

For those interested in supporting our students, many of whom have lost income and had additional expenses due to coronavirus related shutdowns, please consider giving to the Husky Emergency Assistance Fund:

https://www.mtu.edu/giving/heaf/

We also have a separate fund set up for our graduate students, many of whom could not travel home, or lost summer work opportunities. You can find that here:

https://www.mtu.edu/givenow/?desig=3345-Emergency-Fund&code=GRAD

If you are ever back in town I hope you will stop by, say hello, and share with me your MTU story. Please do not hesitate to email me any time at djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.


Spring is Coming

Greetings from the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech!

Winter Carnival has ended and the forecast high for this past weekend was 43 degrees, could Spring be right around the corner? The Keweenaw snow thermometer at shows 243” and the 10-day forecast suggests more to come.

We are in the thick of our hiring season in the College. While having breakfast recently with a Chemistry chair candidate, I looked across Suomi Restaurant and saw our humanities and mathematical sciences chairs also meeting with faculty candidates! We are currently searching for department chairs in chemistry and humanities and for regular faculty positions in mathematics and physics and humanities. Hiring and retaining outstanding faculty is the most important thing a Dean can do to ensure the long-term success of the College.

Speaking of outstanding faculty, over in Biological Sciences, Assistant Professor Erika Hersch-Green just won an NSF CAREER award! These are among the most prestigious awards a young scientist can earn (they are limited to pre-tenure faculty). Her five-year project, titled “Can material costs contribute to the structuring of biodiversity patterns from genomes and transcriptomes to multispecies communities?”, will bring in more than $1.1 million! Congratulations to Erika for this incredible achievement!

External research funding is also pouring into our Chemistry department. Five different faculty principal investigators brought in $1.5 million in new awards during 2019 alone. Many of these awards are for research in human health, the focus of our new health education and research building currently being designed. Health research and pre-health education are both growing parts of our mission at MTU.

Last month I traveled to Denver for the annual meeting of the American Mathematical Society. I spent three extra days visiting our very passionate alums. It is wonderful to hear the success stories of our alumni, scattered across the country. Their message was loud and clear, MTU hockey needs to return to the Denver area!

Our recruiting is also going well, with our freshman deposits in CSA up 20% over last year at the same time, and the highest in at least 10 years. It is a testament to the quality of our programs that we can resist the demographic trends of declining numbers of high school seniors and grow enrollment.

Critical to everything we do are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. For those interested in supporting the greatest needs of the College, we have established a “Dean’s Priority Fund”. With state support representing only about 16% of MTU’s budget, your gifts make a huge difference in the lives of our students and faculty every day. Thank you!

If you are ever back in town I hope you will stop by, say hello, and share with me your MTU story. Please do not hesitate to email me any time at djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or make suggestions.

Best wishes,

David Hemmer
Dean- College of Sciences and Arts


Winter is Here: Students Attend Conferences and Other Updates

Mount Ripley and Portage Canal with snow.Classes nonstop from K-Day until Thanksgiving can be exhausting. On the Walker lawn outside my office, the broomball courts filled with snow from the past two storms and across the canal, I can see the snow guns blowing on Mont Ripley after a successful opening weekend. Having taken beginner lessons last year, I am ready to hit the slopes hard this winter. One of my department chairs even gave me a private lesson on waxing and sharpening my new skis!

I was very proud last month when eight of our Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology students presented at the Michigan Space Grant Consortium. Their presentation, Setting foot on Mars: A Big Step and Even Greater Leap for Undergraduate and Graduate Students, analyzed the most energetically efficient form of locomotion on Mars and its implications for successfully carrying out a human Mars mission. They are now seeking funding to present at the Johnson Space Center in Texas.

Over in Cognitive and Learning Sciences, a large contingent of faculty and students represented Michigan Tech well at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Conference in Seattle. Six of our students presented posters at the conference. The talent and dedication of our students and faculty is what makes MTU such a special place.

Our architects recently unveiled the first rough sketches of our new health research building, and whatever doubts I had were washed away. It will be a beautiful seven-story structure attached to the southeast corner of the Chemical Sciences building, with natural light throughout the building and, hopefully, some mass timber construction. While the state is paying part of it, we will lean heavily on support from our alumni and corporate partners to maximize the potential of this space. I was particularly impressed by the prediction that the new space will use less than 1/3 of the energy per square foot than our current laboratory space on campus! Health research and pre-health education are both growing parts of our mission at Michigan Tech.

For the first time ever, this year’s freshmen class in CSA was majority (52%) female! This class was 8% larger than last year. Our efforts now focus on retaining these students and recruiting another great class next Fall. In CSA our application numbers for Fall 2020 are up more than 80% from the same time the previous year, and have, as of November 16, exceeded the final total from last spring! I’m proud of our wide array of degree options in the College that are proving so popular with the students.

Critical to everything we do are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. For those interested in supporting the greatest needs of the College, we have established a Dean’s Priority Fund. With state support representing only about 16% of MTU’s budget, your gifts make a huge difference in the lives of our students and faculty every day. Thank you!

If you are a current student or alumni back in town I hope you will stop by, say hello, and share with me your MTU story. Please do not hesitate to email me at any time at djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or make suggestions.

David Hemmer
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences


Fall 2019 Updates

Staff with President in Cardboard boat in water paddlling.We are midway through the semester now and winter is in the air and on the ground with a coating of snow that seems to have stayed. On the Walker lawn outside my office the broomball courts are under construction. I recently enjoyed watching my first cardboard boat races, including one magnificent vessel captained by our very own President Koubek!

One of my favorite events as Dean, the induction ceremony for our Distinguished Alumni Academy was held in October. We were proud to induct Ziyong Cai (1990 Physics PhD), who captivated the crowd with his tale of growing up in China during the cultural revolution when schools were closed and he had to save for more than a year to afford the TOEFL fee. Laura Barrientos (1995 Chemistry PhD) described her work battling the Ebola virus and starting her own business. Finally, we inducted our third ever honorary member into the academy, former Humanities chair, Dean of Sciences and Arts and Michigan Tech’s first ever Provost, William Powers. Powers shared his stories of working with former President Ray Smith, and leading the department as it moved into the as yet unrenovated Sherman Gym where faculty and staff worked in cubicles on the basketball court!

Teaching Abstract Algebra

In between my dean duties, I grade stacks of papers, as this semester I am teaching my first class here at Tech, with 42 students in Math 3310 Abstract Algebra. It has been wonderful to be back in the classroom after two years away, and great to have a real chalkboard! It has been a thrill to get to know so many of our undergraduates.

College Grows

For the first time ever, the freshmen class in CSA was majority (52%) female! This class was 8% larger than last year, and our early application numbers for Fall 2020 are up 109% from last year at the same time! I’m proud of our wide array of degree options in the College that are proving so popular with the students.

Our ROTC programs are thriving, with 70 cadets this Fall in Army and more than 100 in Air Force (up from 30 just a few years ago)! Both programs were recently visited by Colonels who command multiple ROTC units, and both visiting Colonels were very impressed with what they observed on the ground.

New Space

Planning continues for our new health research building. This beautiful laboratory building will be near the current Chemistry building, which will also be renovated to host our departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology, and Biomedical Engineering. Architects are busy on campus gathering information from our faculty to design laboratory space to meet their needs.

Support

Critical to everything we do are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. For those interested in supporting the greatest needs of the College, we have established a “Dean’s Priority Fund”. With state support representing only about 16% of MTU’s budget, your gifts make a huge difference in the lives of our students and faculty every day.