Dear Colleagues, Alumni, and Friends,

After almost six years as chair of the department, I am now in the final month of my appointment. My immediate reaction is to think how quickly time flies! But if the moment has seemed fast—and I've enjoyed every minute of it (well almost every minute of it)—it is because of the excellence of the department's faculty, graduate students, staff, and undergraduate students, not to mention its alumni and supporters. This is an amazing place to work, and the caliber of our department is a result of the superlative effort that everyone puts in every day.

There are too many things that make this department great to single all of them out individually. But I think that we can collectively take pride in the absolutely superior research record of our faculty—the amount and quality of our publications, the prestigious grants and institutions that have funded them, and the effect that they have had both within and beyond our field. I won’t cite specific works here (we all have our particular examples and favorites), but it is clear that we are in the midst of a truly exciting decade of productivity and innovation.

Our teaching, likewise, has continued to evolve in cutting-edge directions: something to which our strong undergraduate enrollments and our excellent graduate placement record attest. We have helped develop important new interdisciplinary initiatives—for example, the Mediterranean cluster, the Mellon project on egalitarianism, architecture, and urban design, and museum studies—that we continue to grow intensively on both the undergraduate and the graduate level. In every area, we care about teaching, and that shows in the exciting new topics, collaborations, and pedagogical innovations that emerge in our classrooms.

Looking back, we can also take great pride in the services that we offer through our dedicated staff, who provide superlative support, not only in the areas of research and teaching, but also in the fields of digital imaging, preservation, and archiving, as well as communications and social media. Never content with the status quo, we are constantly evolving the manifold ways in which we support, enable, and educate the various students, faculties, and publics with whom we come into contact.

But in the end it is for the fantastic esprit de corps and the excitement that I feel every time I step into Tappan Hall that I owe you all the greatest gratitude. Thank you! It's been a wonderful six years. I am looking forward to seeing everyone again in the fall of 2017!