August 23, 2016
Dear Harvard College Students,
In the days before you return to campus to begin another academic year, I write to share some thoughts with you about the coming year and to ask for your help in warmly welcoming the Class of 2020 to our beloved community.
As I write this letter, the Yard – and of course the entire Harvard College campus – is showing signs of excitement as we welcome our newest class to campus today. I expect that they will be filled with mixed emotions, as many of you were on move-in day – from happiness and excitement, to perhaps sadness at leaving friends and family, or anxiety over the new opportunities and challenges they will face here at Harvard. These emotions will not fade immediately, and when you meet them in a few days, I know that a hello, a smile, or an introduction from you will go a long way towards making new students feel like they belong here. I know many of you have already been reaching out to our freshmen, and I want to thank you for taking the time to welcome them to Harvard. If you use social media, please also consider offering some words of advice to our newest students by tagging your posts #WelcometoHarvard and #Harvard2020.
As we embark on this new academic year, we will be facing important issues together as a community. We will continue to address the pervasive problem of sexual assault and harassment on our campus. We will increase student-administration collaboration as we work to create a more equitable and inclusive Harvard community. We will continue to strengthen the General Education program and academic support services, and we will create new opportunities for social engagement. During these final days of summer, I ask that each of you consider how you will use your talents and your time to help address these challenges over the course of the coming year. No one person has a monopoly on good ideas – and I have seen in my time as your Dean that we are at our best when we work together as a community.
I also write to share with you that starting this fall, you will begin to receive the Harvard Gazette in your email inbox. The Gazette offers timely and relevant reporting on faculty news, research projects, staff developments, student life, and a calendar of events, which I hope helps make you aware of opportunities you might want to explore across the entire university. Please enjoy its high-quality writing, multimedia, and photo journalism – as well as see it as a valuable source of information on Harvard’s impact in the world.
Harvard College has a long and lauded history as an institution that produces engaged citizens and citizen-leaders for our society. Your impact on your community and society doesn’t begin when you graduate, but, rather, it begins here – in the classroom, on the athletic fields, in your Houses and your extracurricular activities. I look forward to an exciting year with you as you write the next chapter of your own story and at the same time, contribute to creating the next chapter of Harvard’s story.
I look forward to seeing you when you return to campus.