When I was named the preferred candidate to become University of Mississippi chancellor last fall, one of my first priorities was to visit the Medical Center to meet and get to know our magnificent health sciences students through a listening session at the Jackson campus.
Shortly after I officially accepted the chancellorship in December, I had the further opportunity to tour UMMC and learn everything I could about our exceptional health care enterprise and the wonderful future clinicians who are being trained at the state’s only academic health sciences campus.
Sharon and I are excited to begin our educational journey with you and to help each of you realize your academic, scientific, and health care potential. As we embark on this, our first semester together, I would ask that you take a moment to consider your many opportunities:
* You have an opportunity to spend your young adult years learning in a dynamic, academically charged environment from some of the world’s leading health sciences educators, researchers, and clinicians.
* You have an opportunity to participate in scientific endeavors that could one day unlock the secrets to some of the world’s most difficult health care challenges.
* And you have opportunities to engage with other students from every health discipline in a truly unique campus setting that includes such jewels as the state’s only children’s hospital, the only Level 1 trauma center, the only Level 4 neonatal intensive care nursery, and the only organ transplant program, to name but a few.
I ask that you make the most of your opportunity to learn, to grow, and to become the health care leaders who will benefit our state, our region, and our nation for generations to come.
The Medical Center is blessed with a tremendously talented leadership team, one that I am honored to work with as chancellor. As we move forward, I will rely heavily on their knowledge, wisdom, and expertise.
During the next several months, I will be visiting the UMMC campus, my “home away from home” of sorts, to spend time with you and to assure that we fully understand the valuable perspectives you have to offer. I ask that you maintain an active dialogue with me to help identify ways the Medical Center can lead our state to what Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs, inspiringly describes as “A Healthier Mississippi.”
It’s especially important for me to champion academic excellence and scholarship, at both our Oxford campus and UMMC. The Medical Center is a significant part of higher education in the state of Mississippi, and your role as health care practitioners and scientists of tomorrow is most vital.
Be on the lookout for announcements of events and gatherings where we can learn more from one another and have conversations about how we can continue to make the Medical Center even greater. And if you’re a Twitter user, I hope you will follow me at @UMchancellor.
I’m honored to lead the University of Mississippi, and I’m proud of my association with you. I look forward to getting to know each of you in the days and weeks ahead.
Jeffrey S. Vitter
Chancellor and Distinguished Professor