August 15, 2016
Dear Harvard College Class of 2020,
Congratulations on your admission to Harvard, and welcome to this incredible, multi-generational, and inclusive community of learning. I am thrilled that you, as members of the Class of 2020, and I, as the Dean of the College, will have the opportunity to begin a new year of our academic lives together. I have had the honor of being Dean for two years, during which I have seen the College and our community come together in good times and in challenging ones – pushing one another to become more thoughtful and engaged citizens and being there for one another in times of need. In the days before you arrive on campus, I write to share my thoughts with you about the community you are about to enter, and the journey you are set to begin.
As you think about the courses you plan to take this fall and the extracurricular activities you want to pursue here on campus, I want to assure you that there is no “best” way to experience a Harvard College education. And as you prepare for your arrival on campus, I encourage you to begin to consider how you will use your time here, where you will devote your talents, and what you might do to contribute to the Harvard community. While it might be easy to continue familiar patterns in a new place, I hope you will consider that your past does not define you. At Harvard, you will author your own story, and in the process you will help write the next chapter of Harvard’s story as well.
When you arrive on campus, you will find that our community – like our society more generally – is engaged in passionate conversations about many topics, including diversity, belonging, and inclusion. For some, these conversations may be new or not new. The most important thing to consider is that dialogue serves as the keystone of our learning community. In order for such dialogue to happen, our community depends on each of us treating each other with dignity and respect – in our residences and in the classroom, on the athletic fields and in our social experiences, and above all, in our daily interactions. What I have seen in my time here – what I know to be true, is that when each of us takes an active, engaged role in shaping the community we would like to see at Harvard and beyond, we are at our best.
As we continue to seek new ways to bring our community together this fall and throughout the 2016-2017 academic year, my office will be using digital communications and social media, including Instagram, the Omni @ Harvard College mobile app, and actively refreshing web pages, etc. to facilitate collaborative and transparent communication with the Harvard Community. Please make sure to connect with us for updates and additional information.
When you arrive on campus, I look forward to having many discussions with you about your education and your vision for our community. Working together in partnership – we can positively shape our community and sustain Harvard’s bright future.