Open House Today

EDITOR’S LETTER

By GayNelle Doll

 

Let’s say you’ve lived for quite some time in a custom-built home you really like and a neighborhood you love. Through the years this house has become a beloved gathering place with great memories in every room. Sure, the place could use a facelift—trim back the voracious English ivy, lose the sectional sofa. But a major overhaul? Who needs that?

And then during Thanksgiving dinner, after the dishwasher floods the kitchen and everyone beats a hasty retreat across town to watch the game in your brother’s fancy new media room—you realize it’s time. And the next thing you know, you’re tearing down walls and staring up at blue skies.

That’s how the past few months have felt, as we’ve rethought Vanderbilt Magazine, from the front steps to the back deck. As with any good makeover, this messy, angst-filled process has finally paid off and left us proud to entertain old friends and new.

We’ve knocked down a number of sections and created one big light-filled front space that brings you campus news, sports, arts and culture highlights, and more. We’ve installed a new Q&A: In this issue we asked Keivan Stassun to articulate his work to help make Vanderbilt the top producer of minority Ph.D. recipients in physics, astronomy and materials science.

You’ll also notice a new Expertise department. This time we show you how to tear down a dormitory (six of them, actually), something Vanderbilt did a lot of recently in preparation for building College Halls at Kissam. Farther back we’ve added a photo essay, which you can expect to see as a regular feature.

You’ll also find familiar spaces. Alumnus Blake Hall’s moving tribute to his slain Iraqi translator illustrates exactly why we wanted to keep the P.O.V. essays coming. We’ve kept our class notes pretty much the same, too, like a favorite old recliner. As any university magazine editor will attest, you don’t mess with class notes.

Above all, we want the new Vanderbilt Magazine to integrate the whole of the university. We hope it will become a gathering point for the Vanderbilt community—especially online. Our expanded Web content helps you explore topics that interest you most. To accompany alumnus Rob Hammond’s piece about JFK’s 1963 Vanderbilt visit, for example, we’ve added additional rare photographs, as well as photos from several other presidential visits to Vanderbilt.

Leave your comments telling us what you liked, what you didn’t like, and what you’d like to see in future issues. We’re calling this section of the magazine Dialogue, and we hope you’ll share with us via Facebook, Twitter and photo sharing—as well as emails and letters. Please drop by often.