Messages to the Community

Welcome to the Start of the Academic Year

Dear Students,

Welcome to the start of the semester! Whether you are beginning or continuing your New School journey, we are glad you have chosen to be part of this vibrant academic community. With the start of the new term, I also join you in this exciting journey, as I begin my first academic year as President of The New School. Our university is a unique and special place, with an extraordinary range of creative talent, bold thinking, and connectivity to the issues of our time. At its heart, The New School is our students, and I look forward to finding ways to meet as many of you as possible and to hearing your stories, as we move through this academic year.

The start of a new academic year is always full of promise, aspirations, and vitality. To be sure, I would have loved for us all to be feeling that energy on our New York City campus this week, but we are making the very best of the circumstances we have been handed right now, taking a smart and safe approach to this semester, and prioritizing community health. Thank you for the maturity, flexibility, and patience you are all demonstrating. This challenging time through which we all are living recalls for me the powerful words of one contemporary writer made popular by a recent television series:

We did not ask for this room,
       or this music;
       we were invited in.
because the dark surrounds us,
       let us turn our faces toward the light.
Let us endure hardship
       to be grateful for plenty.
We have been given pain
       to be astounded by joy.
We have been given life
       to deny death.
We did not ask for this room,
       or this music.
But because we are here,
       let us dance.

– Stephen King, from his novel 11/22/63

Wherever you may be geographically and physically, I urge you to bring your full and authentic self into this learning experience and actively seek to make connections, forge bonds, and collaborate. I know it can be challenging to relate to each other at a time when we are all physically distant. But community is what we intentionally practice by gathering together, and it is entirely possible and powerful in any context—physical or virtual.

As a profound believer in the power of education quite literally to transform lives, I am so very excited for you today. Across every part of The New School—from your faculty and deans, to our staff, to every member of my leadership team—we are here to support the quality of your educational experience and your ultimate success.  Here’s to an extraordinary year of exploration together like no other we’ve ever had.

Onward and upward!

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