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Welcome Back Message from President Bernhardt

President Bernhardt speaks at a podium
President Bernrhardt speaks to new students at the Cutler Majestic Thetatre on Wednesday, August 30. Photo/Sami Ahmad

Dear Emersonians,

To the extraordinary students, faculty, and staff on our campuses across the country and around the world, it is my great honor to welcome you to the 2023-2024 academic year!

As we welcome new and returning students to campus, Emerson is teeming with the energy I’ve heard so much about. I was excited to meet our talented new faculty hires last week and learn about their unique interests and backgrounds, and I was enchanted by the spirit displayed on Tremont this week as our newly arriving students were welcomed loudly and proudly by fellow Emersonians. This is Emerson at its very best.

With the new semester upon us, I’m filled with anticipation for our accomplishments in the coming year. One of my top priorities is recruiting additional exceptional leaders for the open senior positions in our college. We’ve already completed the search for our next Vice President for Institutional Advancement, and we will soon launch searches for other Vice President positions, including Provost, General Counsel, Strategic Communication and Marketing, and Chief of Staff. We will also undertake Dean searches for the School of the Arts and Graduate and Professional Studies. I’m confident we will recruit new leaders who will deepen our mission to advance scholarship and creative work that brings innovation, depth, and diversity to communication, the arts, and the liberal arts.

Another College priority for the coming year is Strategic Planning. I will soon share details of our planning efforts, engaging everyone in our inclusive and collaborative process to create a shared vision for our future. Please be on the lookout for information about ways to share your ideas and input as part of this critical endeavor.

Since my arrival in June, I’ve had the opportunity to meet hundreds of Emersonians and have been incredibly inspired by their creativity and passion. I’ve spent the summer getting acclimated to our campus in Boston and enjoyed visiting with the staff and faculty at Emerson Los Angeles. I have plans to travel to Kasteel Well this fall and look forward to meeting colleagues there. When not on campus, I’ve been exploring Boston, including a Red Sox game and Duck Boat tour with my family, and sampling the diverse cuisines from different Boston neighborhoods.

Many people have asked me about my living arrangements here in Boston, and I’m pleased to share an update with our community. Over the summer, the Emerson College Board of Trustees established a new residence for the President immediately adjacent to campus. This residence is wheelchair accessible and includes event space where we will host meetings and receptions that benefit our campus community. Following minor renovations this fall, we plan to begin hosting events in the new residence in the spring semester. The Board of Trustees also decided to sell the College’s prior residence in Beacon Hill, which was located further from campus, was not wheelchair accessible, and had less conducive space for hosting campus events.

As Emersonians, it should come as no surprise that I deeply value the power of strong communication and engagement, so please expect to hear from me frequently across various media and platforms. You are invited to follow me on my social media channels (@jaybernhardt) on Twitter/X, LinkedIn, Threads, and Instagram. Please also feel free to share your thoughts at

In my short time as President, I have frequently found myself in awe of our talented and passionate community, and I can’t wait to meet more of you and watch you thrive this semester. And if you see me walking around campus, please say hello and introduce yourself!

Jay Bernhardt

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