Williams students, faculty and staff,
Over Winter Study I had the pleasure of co-teaching a course on higher education leadership and communications. It was a joy to explore ideas of mutual interest with some of our wonderful students. I was reminded, as I always am when I get back in a Williams classroom, of the power of bringing curious, engaged and lively learners together for in-depth exploration and discussion.
Today, we start yet another new term. My predecessors and I have traditionally sent a community-wide message on the first day of each semester, celebrating some of the many things happening at Williams. There are plenty right now: you can revisit last week’s Board summary for examples.
But if I have just this one opportunity to communicate with you today, I want to use it to offer a heartfelt wish based on my own Winter Study experiences: Whether you are a student, faculty or staff member, may this term bring you the freedom to explore unfamiliar ideas; the time to delve into them; the teaching and mentoring to guide you along the way; the creativity to express yourself vividly; the courage to debate with others; and the compassion—and capacity—to recognize new possibilities in the process.
In a world of many challenges, misunderstanding not least among them, our intellectual diversity and common humanity can be our greatest strengths.