I always look forward to the return of our students to the Hilltop. This year was no exception. It was wonderful to greet so many freshmen and their families as they moved into residence halls, met roommates, started classes and got acquainted with the Bradley community.
The students are uniformly wide-eyed about what’s ahead, eager for the new challenges and opportunities, yet a little uncertain about the next step in their life’s journey. You remember what it was like to be a freshman. The learning curve is steep, and there are so many new experiences, so much to discover and so much growth ahead. Parents face similar feelings — they are excited that their children are embarking on this new educational journey, and they so much want them to succeed.
Fortunately, the faculty and staff at Bradley are extraordinarily gifted in smoothing the transition from youthful high school student to confident and self-assured Bradley undergraduate. We pride ourselves in knowing each of our students by name. We understand their needs and make it possible for them to achieve at a high level. That’s the Bradley Experience: a personalized, customized education that caters to each unique individual and provides a foundation for success.
By the time you read this, our freshmen will have taken their first collegiate steps. Welcome Week is a flurry of activities with a Block Party the evening they move in; Taste of Bradley to introduce them to Peoria restaurants; the Activities Fair where they learn about the 240 organizations and clubs on campus; and Late Night BU, our successful alcohol-free monthly entertainment event. We have renewed Freshman Convocation the night before classes begin to instill some Bradley traditions and share the opportunities that await them. It adds up to a wonderful way to start their college careers.
I invite you to see some of their early successes when you return to campus for Homecoming and Parents’ Weekend. We have combined the two events to offer more options to our returning alumni, parents and friends.
This is a fascinating time to be on the Hilltop because of the many changes that are occurring. If you haven’t been to campus recently, expect to be overwhelmed with the Markin Family Student Recreation Center, the social and fitness hub of campus; the 4,200-seat Renaissance Coliseum, a fitting successor to Robertson Memorial Field House; and the 600-space Main Street parking deck that has greatly relieved parking congestion on campus.
And our construction isn’t completed. The renovation and expansion of Westlake Hall, the second oldest building on campus and home to the College of Education and Health Sciences, is ongoing and will be six times its original size. You will be impressed with its size, beauty, and how we’ve maintained its architectural integrity.
Of particular interest is the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center with our Hall of Pride that presents a decade-by-decade review of the accomplishments of our alumni and our University. It is spectacular. We will dedicate this beautiful new alumni home on October 15 during Homecoming and Parents’ Weekend. Please return to campus for that joyous and festive occasion and remain connected with the Bradley community.
I look forward to seeing you soon so that you can experience all the progress Bradley is making as we move toward achieving national distinction for our beloved University.