On Hope: A New Academic Year

As thousands of students return to our five campuses today, we begin a new academic year. For some, this is the very first day of their college careers. For others, the final stretch towards graduation in December or May.

For all of us, today holds promise. Over the past many weeks, dedicated advisors, faculty and staff have helped students refine their goals and select their fall classes.

These efforts continue. As faculty and staff heard from the Enrollment Task Force this morning, registration for full-session classes will remain open through the end of the drop/add period on Thursday, August 17. In addition, the Office of Financial Aid is keeping extended hours this week (open until 7pm Monday through Thursday), in an effort to assist students.

Moreover, we have built a robust second-session schedule in the core for Fall, for which registration will be ongoing through October 8, 2017. Advising and registration support during these early days of the semester are essential, and I encourage you each to do all you can to help us meet student needs.

While the excitement of a new semester is palpable, we also recognize that this year begins at a time when the climate in which universities find themselves nationally is wrought with challenges. The events in Charlottesville this weekend remind us that beyond career success, higher education must make our students more human and more morally inclined, not less.

As we begin Fall 2017, let us hold fast to the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson: “Hope smiles on the threshold of the year to come, whispering that it will be happier.” Together, we can deliver on that hope and the promise that a new semester offers.