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UConn Advance

President's letter addresses academics, other key topics
February 28, 1997

President Philip E. Austin has addressed a number of issues and concerns in a five-page letter to faculty, staff, and students.

The letter emphasizes the president's views on several topics and reiterates the importance of academics.

"Academic quality is our overarching and fundamental responsibility," Austin said, noting that the University must work to increase the visibility of the academic program and the University's academic rankings. "The quality of our students, faculty, and programs makes me feel proud of the institution and highlights our extraordinary potential," he said.

The letter covers topics such as students, technology transfer, athletics, external communications, UConn 2000, the University's budget request, and the organization of the administration. It notes that the president's role as spelled out by the trustees will involve "interaction with elected policy makers throughout the state, establishing a more productive relationship with the business community and fundraising."

To accomplish that, Austin is charging Mark A. Emmert, chancellor and provost for University affairs, with being the chief operating officer of the University with responsibilities for all activities except those at the Health Center and those reporting directly to the president.

And he is asking Vice President Wilbur Jones to serve as chief financial officer with oversight over strategic financial analysis, planning and policy advice, and budget oversight over the University, including the Health Center.

To assist Austin in carrying out the role of the president as spelled out by the trustees, the president said he hopes to establish a satellite office in downtown Hartford.

"The Storrs office will remain my main office and my staff will continue to be located here," the letter says.

Austin also notes in the letter that he and his wife have purchased a home in Farmington.

The presidential residence in Storrs will be kept for the Austin family's use, for entertaining, and for accommodating special guests to the University.

"The main campus in Storrs will always remain the heart of the University and the president's residence and office here will continue to be the official locations for my activities," Austin said. "However, I take very seriously the president's duties as delineated by the Board of Trustees, including their expectation that I regularly travel throughout the state, particularly in the capital region and Fairfield County."

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