From the Editor: Terms of Engagement

<em>Vanderbilt Magazine</em>'s first cover after the last redesign in 2002.
Vanderbilt Magazine's first cover after the last redesign in 2002.

This issue of Vanderbilt Magazine represents the last of its kind—but by no means signals the end of Vanderbilt’s flagship publication. This year we are rethinking and redesigning the magazine, an undertaking I find both thrilling and humbling.

The current incarnation of Vanderbilt Magazine made its debut in 2002, and in terms of reader response has been a resounding success. So why are we reinventing the wheel?

Part of the answer is pretty obvious. Think how communications have proliferated during the past decade. Now, depending on your relationship with the university and your preferences, you may receive news not only through the magazine but also through email, e-newsletters, VUconnect, VUCast newscasts, Facebook, Twitter, and other ways, regardless of whether you live in Nashville or Nairobi.

Our research and your feedback tell us that a print magazine remains a vital means of communication—in some ways more than ever. Having so many tools at our fingertips not only has helped to diffuse communication—but to distill it as well.

So the question we are asking as we undertake this redesign becomes: What is the essence of Vanderbilt?

As we embark on our magazine redesign, we are carefully thinking about what defines Vanderbilt as a community. As someone who has met thousands of alumni, students and faculty members during the past quarter-century, I would put these characteristics at the top of my list: civility, curiosity, inspired ambition, humor, generosity, and vision for a better world.

The focus on campus these days is less on Vanderbilt’s individual colleges and schools, and more on the university as a whole. The lines between the “university side” of Vanderbilt and the “medical center side” have blurred as the benefits of cross-disciplinary study and resource sharing become clear. You will see this “one Vanderbilt” philosophy reflected in the new magazine, too.

What won’t change is our commitment to presenting an array of voices from the Vanderbilt community, bringing the university to life from the points of view of students, faculty members—and especially alumni.

As we work through the process of reinventing Vanderbilt Magazine, we will continue to communicate with our readers electronically to update you on our plans. Expect to see the new Vanderbilt Magazine about the time students return to campus this fall.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on what you’d like to see in the new magazine. Email me at, or call me at (615) 322-1003.