Catching up

Many things have happened since last I wrote.

Monroe Carell Jr. The Vanderbilt community mourned the passing of Monroe Carell Jr. June 20, one of its staunchest supporters and most generous benefactors. If you did not know Mr. Carell through his business acumen – he transformed Nashville’s Central Parking from 10 lots to the world’s largest provider of parking facilities – then you surely know his name from our award-winning Children’s Hospital, made possible through his personal donations as well as his leadership in fundraising. Nearly $80 million has been committed to VCH thanks to Mr. Carell. A Vanderbilt alum, he and his family were not only generous donors but also leading advocates for causes across the medical center and campus. At the time of his death, he was leading the university’s extremely successful Shape the Future campaign. He leaves shoes that cannot be filled, but will inspire and elevate generations to come. Read more.

VUCast 2.0. The Vanderbilt News Service launched a redesign of its online news network, VUCast, softly on Friday, June 13 (we’re not superstitious) and a bit more loudly this week. The new VUCast does justice to our vast and diverse audio and video collection, better incorporates social bookmarking tools to make sharing easier, and is just plain pleasant to read and navigate. Many thanks to the News Services’ own Mike Petruna, Creative Services’ Amy Blackman, and the crew at Sitemason for helping to make this happen. Take a look and let us know what you think.

Curb Creative Campus. We announced something we’ve been excited about for some time – music industry exec and educational innovator Mike Curb has donated funds and resources to create the new Mike Curb Creative Campus at Vanderbilt, which “will elevate creative practice on and off campus to prepare students to work with globalized markets, engage emerging technologies and navigate increasingly complex intellectual property rules.” Makes me wish I were a student again. Go to the Web site.

Commons Dean Move-In. Frank Wcislo, the dean of the Commons, Vanderbilt’s new freshman living-learning-campus-within-a-campus, and his family moved into their new digs on campus. The excitement about the upcoming fall semester, when the class of 2012 will move in and experience, shape, expand and explore this grand experiment Vanderbilt has undertaken, is hitting a fever pitch. Watch a video about the dean’s move-in.

Southeastern Communicators Association launched. Our friends at the University of Arkansas invited us some time ago to attend a conference of a new association – SECCA, or the Southeastern Conference Communicators Association. Always a joiner, I volunteered to represent Vandy at the inaugural conference June 8-10 in Fayetteville and boy am I glad I did. Great information, great colleagues, and a lot of fun. I even learned how to call the hogs. In fact, I had so much fun I offered to host the group at Vanderbilt next June. Learn more and view PowerPoints of the presentations on branding, fundraising, crisis management, technology and more here.

This is just a sample of what we’ve been busy with lately and my measly excuse for why I haven’t been blogging. Will stay in better touch. I promise. Really.

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