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Message from the Dean

Dennis HallThanks for taking the time to visit this web-page to find out more about Vanderbilt. If you have not already done so, let me suggest that after reading this short message, you turn next to my general greeting where you can read a few things about Vanderbilt’s history, activities, reputation and accomplishments.

That we human beings pursue graduate education is an extraordinary manifestation of our spirit. During its 128-year history as a graduate-degree-granting institution, Vanderbilt has awarded nearly 18,000 graduate degrees. Why have so many felt called to study, to continue learning and to carry out research in universities after earning bachelor's degrees? Clearly, there is something within us that drives us to want to learn more, to discover or uncover the truth, and to contribute to an improved understanding of the human condition. We are curious about what we don’t yet know or understand. We ask questions. The decision to attend graduate school is, at its core, the decision to learn more, to take on important questions, and to join the worldwide effort to find answers to those questions. Fundamentally, graduate study is a noble undertaking.

Here at Vanderbilt, we’re committed to providing graduate education of the highest quality to all of our students. In support of that goal, we’re especially committed to developing and maintaining a faculty and a student body that together reflect the diversity of the world in which we all live and work. We do this by recruiting widely and aggressively, and by working to provide the kind of welcoming, hospitable campus experience that facilitates learning within a genuine, diverse, collegial community of scholars. How are we doing? Here are just two examples. During the 2006-2007 academic year, U.S. graduate students who are underrepresented minorities make up 23% of U.S. graduate students and 16% of all graduate students enrolled in Vanderbilt’s Graduate School. Roughly 27% of the students enrolled in the Graduate School came to Vanderbilt from outside the United States.

I hope you’ll spend just a bit more time exploring this and other web-pages on the Vanderbilt website. Bright men and women from all backgrounds and walks of life are needed to take on the many challenges and opportunities the future is sure to bring. Many of those challenges and opportunities are already quite clear. If graduate study looks to you like the right path to follow, then I hope Vanderbilt will rank high on your list of preferred destinations.

Dennis G. Hall
Vice Provost for Research
Dean of the Graduate School
Professor of Physics
Professor of Electrical Engineering