I am delighted to welcome you all back to a new academic year and the start of the Fall 2022 semester. I would especially like to extend a warm welcome to our new faculty, staff, students, and their families. I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you over the past few days during orientation, matriculation, and at faculty meetings. You are a truly impressive group, and I cannot wait to see the innovative ideas, initiatives, and discoveries that will emerge over the course of this year.
After more than two years of restrictions imposed by the pandemic, it has been wonderful to bring back many cherished Tufts traditions. In May, we celebrated the achievements of the Class of 2022 – and the Class of 2020 – at in-person Commencement ceremonies. Over the summer, we hosted picnics for faculty and staff across the university; we welcomed alumni back to the Hill at numerous Reunion events; and, just a few days ago, we welcomed the newest members of the Tufts community, the undergraduate Class of 2026, and their families at Matriculation on the Medford/Somerville campus.
During all of these moments and many more, the spirit of the Tufts community could be felt in full force, serving as a reminder of the strong bonds that connect us and make this university such a wonderful place to study, work, and teach. I look forward to many more occasions to come together and celebrate over the course of this year.
In my Matriculation Address to this year’s incoming undergraduate Class, I noted that the fall semester begins at a unique and difficult time for our country and the world. We continue to grapple with the tragic effects of racism, antisemitism, and bigotry across the country. We are faced with an increasingly stark reality of climate change and severe weather patterns around the globe. And major national issues, including reproductive rights, voting rights, access to guns, and affirmative action, threaten to sow division in our country and make it seem nearly impossible to find common ground.
As we enter the mid-term election season in November, I encourage all of you to advocate strongly for what you support – but to be tolerant of different views and engage in respectful dialogue with others, even those with whom you disagree.
Finally, as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we must be prepared for the fall and winter seasonal increase in cases. It is important that we remain vigilant and adhere to new COVID-19 protocols as they emerge in order to keep our community safe. Together, I am confident that we will continue to manage living with this virus, as we have successfully done in the past.
This year will be my final time as president that I have the privilege of welcoming you and wishing you well at the beginning of the academic year. I look forward to seeing you in person, across all our campuses and throughout the course of this year, to extend my appreciation for the many ways you make Tufts the remarkable institution that I have been fortunate to lead for the past 11 years.