| I hope you had a wonderful summer. As we begin another academic year, I want to take a moment to share some updates.
While I know we have all seen public attention in recent weeks surrounding a number of issues that impact the university, we have maintained our unwavering focus on our Buckeye community.
Thanks to the unprecedented achievements from our faculty, staff, students and alumni, we continue to advance the focus areas of our Time and Change strategic plan and strengthen Ohio State's position as a leading national flagship public research university.
On Monday, we welcomed another talented incoming class at Convocation — projected to be among the most prepared and diverse in our history.
We continue to work hard to advance access, affordability and excellence. Students in this fall's new class will be the first to experience the Buckeye Opportunity Program, which covers any gap in the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for thousands of low- and middle-income Ohio families. This program will be expanded to our regional campuses this spring.
Yesterday, we announced new steps to address sexual misconduct on our campus, including a centralized office to assist students, faculty and staff. This is a vitally important issue on our nation's campuses, and we are committed to advancing and strengthening our support and resources.
Last week, the Wexner Medical Center was recognized as a national leader in 10 specialties, according to U.S. News & World Report — a distinction shared by fewer than one-half of 1 percent of hospitals in the nation. Wonderful news!
We're also pleased to share that the historic Mirror Lake District, including Baker Commons, Browning Amphitheater and Oxley and Pomerene Halls, is officially open. The district has undergone extensive renovations to create modern learning environments and restore the lake to a more sustainable state.
In June, we announced a new leader for our research enterprise. And last month, we announced the inaugural cohort of the President's Postdoctoral Scholars, a program to recognize outstanding young scholars in fields from English and economics to neuroscience and genetics.
We continue our focus on teaching and learning best practices through the University Institute for Teaching and Learning and other units. Last year, 200 newly hired faculty participated in faculty development programs, and we look forward to growing that number this year.
We are excited that our efficiency and innovative funding initiatives are fueling investments in our academic mission, such as our Digital Flagship collaboration and through a variety of arts, sustainability and research opportunities.
As always, thank you for your talents and contributions. Best wishes for a healthy and productive year.