A welcome to the Class of 2013!

Welcome to the Class of 2013! Beginning your career at Washington University is an exciting time for you and your families. It is equally exciting for my colleagues and me, as we reflect on the great possibilities that lie ahead for you.

I am grateful to all of you for making the important decision to join the Washington University family. The Class of 2013 is one of the most academically gifted in our history. Equally impressive is the diversity of personal abilities, intellectual interests and life experiences you bring to us. We feel fortunate to have so many talented individuals join our community, and I expect that we will learn a great deal from you. In turn, you will benefit from the exceptional students who came before you, and our world-class faculty will serve as your mentors and guides during the next four years.

Alumni of Washington University often tell me about the wonderful memories they have of their undergraduate years—an experience they had in a laboratory or classroom, a leadership role they held in a Greek organization, a friendship with someone in their Residential College or a professor who influenced their career choice. Time will tell what your memories will become, but I am confident that numerous opportunities lie before each of you. The path ahead will be both challenging and rewarding, and I encourage you to make the most of your time here.

You are joining a thriving community of young scholars. Washington University students consistently impress me both in and out of the classroom. In the Class of 2013 are student athletes who will continue the outstanding legacy of the Washington University Bears. Some among you will lead efforts to improve the environment by educating your peers about recycling and energy conservation, serving as advocates for decreasing our carbon footprint and improving sustainability efforts at the University. Many will continue our proud traditions of community service through programs like Each One Teach One and Relay For Life, while others will start new traditions. Dozens of you will spend time studying in another country, discovering new languages and cultures—experiences that will broaden your views of the interconnectedness of our world.

The Class of 2013 arrives at Washington University during an important era in the world’s history. The global and national financial crises represent important challenges. We see unrest in many countries as citizens struggle with the complex issues of energy resources, nuclear weapons, proliferation and the principles of democracy in government. It is easy for one to feel overwhelmed about the challenges that we face. However, there are two things that give me great hope.

First, Washington University remains strong. While we are not immune to the present financial realities, we have been around for a long time, steadily growing in quality and impact over the past 156 years. We have loyal alumni and friends, exceptional faculty and staff and many unique and innovative initiatives that will be a source of strength for us in the era ahead.

Second, we have you! The arrival of a new class is a significant and symbolic event for every great University and you, the Class of 2013, represent the future of Washington University, our country and the world. Your creativity, enthusiasm, and talents are inspirational. With the help of the knowledge you will gain here, you have the potential to address the world’s most complex problems. Whatever path you choose during the next four years, continue to nurture your intellectual interests and strive to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Again, welcome to Washington University! You have my very best wishes for success in this community of learning and discovery.

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