Dear CCNY Community,
I don't know about you, but the first days of a new semester—the ones that take place before Labor Day—always seem like they were stolen from summer vacation. The campus has a kind of pre-business air to it: the weather's still warm, many of us are more or less still dressed for summer, and our first vacation day is coming at the end of the week.
It's a nice moment to welcome you back, and it is my great pleasure to do so.
I wish all of you a productive and happy return to the day to day work of our college. If you're a student, I urge you to take every opportunity to build a future for yourself. The campus is rife with programs designed to make you the most successful person possible—study abroad programs, scholarship and leadership activities, chances to work alongside renowned researchers as assistants. Too many students graduate without undertaking, or even knowing about, these opportunities. Take a moment—take a whole day—and study the range of opportunities this college presents to you. Talk to faculty and staff about what you want to do with your life, and how we can help.
There's a lot to look forward to on this campus in the coming semester. We are launching our new Moxie Initiative program, underwritten by a grant from the Moxie Foundation, designed to help faculty design and produce classes geared toward helping students make the changes that they think are necessary in our world. Classes that emerge in this program will help students be entrepreneurs in the very broadest sense of the word: people who identify a need, develop a commitment to meeting that need, and figure out how to get it done. I think the program has the potential to change what it means to work or study at City College, and I'm truly excited to see where it will take us.
This year, no less than in the past, I want to call on each of you to take care of one another—to keep an eye out for students, colleagues, classmates or friends who might find themselves in particularly stressful circumstances. We live in a world that, for many of us, has become unpredictable and uncertain. Almost every day, some of the core values of this institution are challenged in the most public of ways, and at the very highest levels. For countless CCNY students, but also for staff and faculty, these challenges have deeply personal and utterly direct implications for their place in our world.
We cannot, we will not, allow these challenges any play on our campus. We need, each of us, to be a reservoir of resilience and support for one another. As a campus, our values are clear and unwavering: whoever you are, wherever you came from, and however you came to City College, this place is your home. We must defend the idea that the relationships among us, whatever our differences, should be marked with a mutual embrace of our humanity and dignity, and a joyful celebration of the fact that we are, together on this campus, united in an effort to make the world better by making ourselves better.
I want, finally, to caution against the danger of allowing the truly abhorrent elements of these challenges to in any way normalize. The culture and promise of the City College community at its best - our diversity, our mobility, our enthusiasm for the achievements of our neighbors and friends - must be the way forward for humanity rather than a mere echo of some unrealized promise. We need to be relentless in the assertion of our values, undaunted by the ugly contradictions that we might encounter, and hopeful that past patterns will be repeated, and the world that we build today on our campus becomes the world of tomorrow for everyone else.
My friends, welcome to a new school year. May you be successful and happy on our campus throughout the year and beyond.