Over the last few months, I have greatly enjoyed getting to know the Lafayette community not only through regular visits to campus, but also through letters, emails, tweets, webcasts, LinkedIn discussions, or conversations at College events. All of these exchanges have confirmed my sense that the strength of the Lafayette community is one of the College’s greatest assets. I look forward to continuing this process of discovery over the coming months and years.
Summer is of course a time of transition for many other members of the Lafayette community as well. Some of you may be parents of students who have just graduated, or parents of students who are anxiously anticipating their first semester at Lafayette. Many alumni will have recently returned to campus for Reunion, where reconnecting with friends and mentors marks a new phase in your relationship with the College. Students themselves have scattered to the many places that jobs, internships, or further study may take them.
Preparing to take on this demanding new role has made me even more aware of the need for education to prepare students for transition and change. As we look at the rapid economic and technological changes taking place today, it is impossible to predict what the future holds for graduates in 10 or 15 years. This can lead to questions about the value of a liberal arts education or the value of specific majors.
Lafayette is fortunate in being well recognized among liberal arts colleges for producing students with strong employment prospects. But this is not due simply to the strength of individual departments and programs. This is a result of broad education that requires students to respond to the varied demands of different disciplines, different professors, different modes of thought. The flexible habits of learning produced over these four years prepare students to adapt to the changes of a lifetime.
I am proud to become the leader of an institution that is dedicated not simply to teaching information, but to teaching students how to learn. The success of our alumni in a wide range of careers and professions is proof that, whatever your major, when you have mastered the art of learning…“you can do anything with that.”