Greetings from the Students

Manny Yekutiel and Ifiok Inyang

Emanuel S. Yekutiel ’11 and Ifiok C. Inyang ’11, College Council Co-Presidents
The Induction of Adam F. Falk as the 17th President of Williams College
Convocation, September 25, 2010

President Falk, Trustees, Faculty, Students, and Honored Guests

On behalf of the senior class and the rest of the student body we would like to officially welcome you, President Falk, to Williams College. I’m sure you will feel right at home being that we are conveniently situated in this bustling metropolis.

What makes Williams unique and has constantly put Williams on the forefront of innovation is the involvement of its students in the life of the college.

Williams has a rich history of students getting involved. Look around you. There are women in this room. Students. We don’t live in fraternities anymore. Students. Many of you have been JAs, gone abroad, served on committees. Students. Students have shaped this campus into what it is today. And Williams has let them.

From the abolition of the fraternity system to becoming co-educational to creating the Entry system, students have been instrumental in helping to create the Williams we see today.

From the everyday aspects of life at Williams to the major shifts in our culture here in the purple valley, students have demanded that they be included in the conversation. We live on a self-reflective campus, a school that is always working to become better. Since Williams’ beginning students have been on the front lines of this effort.

We care.

In your few months on campus, I am sure that you have noticed that we are a self-reflective campus that is always working to get better.

President Falk, we are excited that you will be leading this fine institution for years to come and hope that you see us students as your greatest allies. So if you are good to us, we will be good to you- nine times out of ten.

At the end of the day, we eat here, we sleep here, we grow here, and even though we will leave you after four years, the effect of being here becomes a part of our life long narrative.

President Falk: As representatives of the students at Williams we ask you not to forget this message: Listen to us. Include us.

Mark Hopkins, professor of moral and intellectual philosophy from 1830 to 1887 and president of the College from 1836 to 1872, sat on the same log as his students. He wasn’t just a teacher and a president; he was a friend who believed in the minds and hearts of his students. In speaking about those students, he wrote that “We are to regard the mind, not as a piece of iron to be laid upon the anvil and hammered into any shape, nor as a block of marble in which we are to find the statue by removing the rubbish, nor as a receptacle into which knowledge may be poured; but as a flame that is to be fed, as an active being that must be strengthened to think and to feel, to dare, to do, and to suffer.”

President Falk laughingAnd you’re a first year, so don’t walk through the gate.