Working Together to Build UD’s Future


Staying Consequential and Focused as We Build Our Future

Cinema, our society, and the future of UD

Dear Students, and Members of our Faculty and Staff,

The world has shifted in the weeks since fall classes ended in ways few of us could have imagined. Unrest in our nation’s cities and violent attacks on civilians in Nigeria and France that attempted to constrain the liberties to which we are all entitled compel us, as global citizens, into critical debates addressing the costs and responsibilities of living in a free society.

UD Rises to the Challenge

When the initial release of “The Interview” was thwarted by a cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment and terroristic threats against moviegoers, it exposed some of our vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals seem to remain two steps ahead of laws fueling a $2 billion cybersecurity insurance industry. Major corporations like Home Depot and J.P. Morgan Chase are among the latest U. S. companies attacked in the past 12 months.

UD is a place where we dare to be first, dare to be bold, and dare to shine — where faculty and students work together to help address real-world issues. Fittingly, as cybersecurity rises to the top of America’s agenda, UD is committing its talent and resources to help companies keep cybercriminals at bay.

  • Under Starnes Walker, director of our Cybersecurity Initiative, UD is bringing industry, government and academia together to train cyber professionals.
  • Today at 3:30 p.m., in Gore Recital Hall of the Roselle Center for the Arts, Michael Chertoff, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will discuss how cybersecurity threats go beyond the theft of personal information and affect our national safety, personal liberties and free markets.

Freedom, Equality and Civic Engagement

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an event critical in the passing of the U.S. Voting Rights Act. The film “Selma” demonstrates the power of civic engagement and fearless commitment to a worthy cause.

However, today in America we still struggle to uphold Dr. King’s vision for a nation where all people — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — are judged by “the content of their character.” At UD, we are collectively working to uphold our commitment to diversity and inclusion as necessary ingredients for excellence:

  • We have launched the social media campaign #VoicesOfUDel to help all of us to feel more included and engage each other in an open and positive format.
  • MSNBC celebrity Dr. Melissa Harris Perry will join us later this month.
  • We kick off a three-day celebration of women March 10-12, featuring journalist Laura Ling, who was accused of espionage and held captive in North Korea.
  • In April we will sponsor a program, “Hate Speech or Free Speech — Why it Matters.”

What Does this Mean for Us at UD?

These are complex but exciting times. I’ve mentioned a few examples of how we are committed to being a university that is consequential — today and tomorrow. Taking on these great debates and grand challenges is our social obligation—it offers benefits to our society and important learning opportunities to our students.

Those same aspirations inform us as we finalize our strategic plan, to be released next month. We also will give careful thought to the kinds of bold ideals we want everyone at UD to embody, hoping to broaden our intellectual experience and expand our cultural awareness.

Even as we face these many challenges, we draw inspiration from how our forebears responded to the challenges of their times. We at UD — students, faculty and staff — have been and will always be leaders who dare to make a difference.

With a Daring Spirit Bold, Delaware Will Shine,

Domenico Grasso
Provost & Professor