As a SPEA alumnus, and now as the executive associate dean for Bloomington, I share something with all of you: We’re in the foundation business. And it’s booming.
By now I hope you’ve heard the wonderful news that SPEA Bloomington is the #1 ranked public affairs graduate program in the country. We surpassed Harvard in the 2012 U.S. News rankings and in this year’s rankings we climbed into the top spot, tied with Syracuse.
Credit for this remarkable accomplishment should be shared by all of you. You don’t rise in the rankings overnight. Success is built on a foundation of excellence. You built that foundation. SPEA is what it is today because of the culture you created, the organizations you started, and the example you set for future students. The rankings are based on ratings of reputation. All that you do in your careers and in your service to the greater good enhances SPEA’s reputation. So thank you. We stand on your shoulders and it is a rock-solid foundation.
We’re booming in another way. The foundation is going in for the Paul H. O’Neill Graduate Center. This will be a state of-the-art building that will connect to the existing building and face 10th Street. That long, treacherous stairway you climbed countless times has already been demolished and it won’t be long before it is replaced by three floors of comfortable, collaborative work spaces behind a gleaming wall of glass.
By the time you read this, the steel structure for the building should be in place and we will move in early next year. One feature of the O’Neill Center will be tributes to those whose gifts have made it possible. Please consider adding your name to those who have given generously to build the best possible foundation for future SPEA students.
What with the construction jackhammers and the celebration over the rankings, it’s been a noisy semester here.
We’re booming and I don’t mind. Not one bit.