It was a pleasure meeting many of you yesterday when I saw you during Voices of the Class in Mead Chapel and addressing you last night. I was struck by the high energy and enthusiasm of your class, and I look forward to getting to know you over the next four years. As you settle in to Middlebury’s life and pace, I hope you will soon feel at home here.
Middlebury has a long tradition of welcoming all kinds of students from all kinds of backgrounds to campus. As your class becomes integrated with the rest of the campus community, your unique experiences and viewpoints will begin to shape the very fabric of the College.
The Class of 2017 brings many interesting dimensions to our community. That you come from 42 countries and 43 states, that one quarter are U.S. students of color and 11 percent are international students, that 13 percent are the first generation of their family to attend college—those facts represent the range of variety your class is bringing to campus.
But these facts don’t show the full spectrum of diversity that comes from all of the layers that make up who we are as individuals and what we collectively “bring to the table.” Once you get to know your fellow students, faculty, and staff, the type of diversity you find here may astound you. I mentioned last night the breadth of experience you all possess—your ranks include a broad array of abilities, backgrounds, and insight that we look forward to engaging.
Next week, please join me in welcoming the other students back to campus who are returning from internships, study abroad programs, summer jobs, and other interesting adventures. I hope you will be able to take advantage of their expertise as you get to know them.
This blog is a good space to spark conversation. Please feel free to leave your comments and ideas here. I’d love to hear from you.