Dear Harvard College Students,
Welcome back to campus! I hope you had a wonderful summer and that you were able to spend time doing things that brought you joy and meaning.
A lot has changed since you left campus in May. We welcomed Tom Dunne as the new Harvard College Dean of Students, Hopi Hoekstra as the new Edgerly Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Claudine Gay as the 30th President of Harvard University. But what has not changed is our unwavering commitment to all of you. Your energy and dedication make the College a home—and a place I have grown to love more each year.
This summer brought many challenges and hardships locally, across the country, and worldwide. News about the climate, about gun violence, about new and persistent threats to democracy—all of these challenges remind us more than ever your leadership, creativity, and gifts and talents are needed to solve the problems we face. But you are not alone. We are joined together in the pursuit of a better future, and the College is dedicated to helping carve your path in the world.
Harvard alumnus Baratunde Thurston ’99 has argued that we should redefine the word “citizen” as a verb rather than a noun, writing that “to citizen is to show up and participate” and to “deepen relationships with ourselves, our community, and the planet and see how we are all interconnected.” I hope this academic year ignites passion and hope for all of you, and that you will find new and enduring ways to citizen as you fulfill the College’s mission to educate the citizens and citizen-leaders for our society.
I look forward to seeing you soon!
Danoff Dean of Harvard College