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Dean's note: Live from Case Hall

February 3, 2022

As I sit in my office, it’s nice to hear the familiar hum of activity returning to Case Hall. I know many in our community are anxious about the return to in-person teaching, but I am happy to see everyone’s masked faces again! I am very hopeful that as the Omicron variant recedes, much of our collegiate life will return to some sense of normalcy.

We have some exciting events coming up that give us a chance to reestablish our vibrant academic community. Professor Salvador Vidal-Ortiz is now with us as the Inaugural Stephen O. Murray Scholar in Residence. He is working with librarians in the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections to survey Murray’s body of scholarly work on LGBTQ issues bequeathed to the university by his spouse, Dr. Hong.

Dr. Hong’s $6 million gift to JMC and the Libraries will have a transformative effect on LGBTQ studies at MSU. We’ll get an overview of Professor Vidal-Ortiz’s thoughts on working with Murray’s archival materials at the public lecture he will deliver on February 8. Please join us in Club Spartan or on the livestream for this event kicking off Professor Vidal-Ortiz’s time with us. 

Our community members are doing exciting things this semester! Professor Lisa Cook was elected to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Board of Directors, then just a short time later was nominated by President Biden to a seat on the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors. If confirmed, she would be the first Black woman to hold that position.

Dr. Brian Johnson has joined us as our first assistant dean of diversity, equity and inclusion. He will be engaging students, staff and faculty on DEI issues as JMC continues to strive to build a more diverse and inclusive community.

Beth Brauer has joined us as our manager of marketing and communications. She is working hard to help the Madison community share its story. Be sure to read some of the recent student views and faculty voice on our website. Also, if you follow JMC on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you’ll be able to keep up with the news and opportunities as they unfold.

These are just some of the people and activities that have me excited to be back in person and immersed in the JMC community. I look forward to seeing you all as I continue to learn more about Madison and the things that make it such a special place.


Cameron Thies

Dean and MSU Foundation Professor