Welcome to campus, Class of 2016

August 24, 2012

BY PHILIP P. DISTEFANO

It is my pleasure today to summon you, as new CU-Boulder students, to take part in the legacy of scholarship and contribution left by the students who came before you.

Today, we are inviting you to be part of a family – a family of learning, scholarship, inquiry and investigation.

Today you begin your transformation from college freshman to college graduate!

We are living in a digitized world of sound bites and abbreviated messages – short bursts of information restricted by the parameters of our cell phone screens. Today we are asking you to embark on just the opposite of that.

We are asking you to step into an environment where the messages are longer and more complex: theories, discussions, creative works and experiences in learning, discovery and innovation.

We are asking you to embark on a personal transformation that cannot be downloaded; that cannot be confined or defined by a YouTube video.

This year, in-and-out of the classroom, you will experience the diversity of humanity  -- the diversity of thought, background, race, class, religion, geographic origin, and in dozens of ways that echo the diversity of the world.

You will have the opportunity to accomplish important research and creative work for the advancement of society through undergraduate research programs.

You may:

  • Control satellites in space
  • Work on biomedical discoveries that save lives
  • Design and build sustainable water systems in third-world countries
  • Or develop sustainable fuels to power the planet.

 You may produce films, plays, and other creative works that inspire us.

You may find yourself living in the same residence hall with your professor in one of our residential academic programs. Your professor may engage you in a hallway discussion on sustainable justice, international affairs, environmental science and yes – the role of communications in modern society. 

You may be engaged or mentored by a professor who is a Nobel Prize winner or a member of a prestigious national academy in the arts, sciences, education or engineering.

You may study alongside students from Boston or Beijing, Mongolia or Meeker. We are a global community.

One of the joys of attending school here is that you have an opportunity to meet fellow students from a diversity of cultures and perspectives across the nation and across the world.

In our digital world of instant communication we are bombarded by misinformation, unsubstantiated declarations and unproductive showmanship. We will give you the tools to seek the truth and engage in healthy discussions and civil discourse as part of your problem solving skills as citizens in a global society.

As Chancellor, I want to personally summon you to this great adventure. And in doing so, I want to invite you to transform yourself, your community, your nation and your world.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are small matters compared to what lies within us.”

Have high expectations as we invite you, the Class of 2016, to leave your legacy.

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