Thank you for the warm welcome! I am delighted to return the favor and to welcome you back to campus.
As a father of two and veteran of many college family weekends, I know firsthand how proud you are of your Blue Devils. But here at Duke, my wife Annette and I have also come to understand things from the other side. Now, our kids come and visit us.
Last year was our first at Duke, so this year, we’re sophomores. And while we’re not applying for DukeEngage or experiencing the existential angst of picking a major, we have, like many somewhat new Dukies, fallen head over heels in love with this place.
This is certainly a very exciting time to be at Duke. Our students are hard at work in the classrooms and the library, and our fall sports teams are doing great. Activities and clubs are in full swing, the Brodhead Center is a bustling hub of student activity, and our vibrant arts program has a packed schedule of performances and openings throughout the fall.
Over the course of this weekend, you’ll hopefully hear from your students about the interesting and engaging classes they’re taking and the faculty members they’ve gotten to know. From the English department to the Engineering School, Duke professors are confronting the world’s most intractable problems, and our students have the remarkable opportunity to take part in that work as undergraduates. They are learning from and conducting research with the leading scholars in every field, and they are being challenged to think creatively about how to translate what they learn in the classroom to real-world problems.
As I said at the opening convocation, I understand that this responsibility can be somewhat overwhelming, especially for our first-year students. I also know that not everyone took my advice to get plenty of sleep. That’s why we work every day to ensure that our undergraduates have the support and guidance they need to succeed at Duke and beyond.
All of our students have access to a team of faculty and peer advisors who can help them with everything from study skills to navigating the balance between work and fun. We also have an excellent team of career advisors who can connect students with internship opportunities and arrange informational interviews with alumni and friends of the university.
And we have a beautiful Student Wellness building just a few steps away here on West Campus. I hope that you will encourage your students to take full advantage of these important resources.
We want to provide the best education possible because we know that the Duke students of today will be the Duke alumni leaders of tomorrow, and they will carry with them what they learn here to improve the world.
Today, they’re studying for a biology midterm; tomorrow, they might find an innovative new cure for a rare disease. Today, they’re training for a track meet; tomorrow, it might be the Olympics. Today, they’re volunteering to raise awareness about the refugee crisis; tomorrow, they might be working at the UN. Today, they’re preparing for Countdown for Craziness; tomorrow, they’ll be … preparing for Countdown for Craziness.
I believe that the Duke University of today is better equipped than ever to set our students on their personal paths, to provide an education that sparks their curiosity, tests their convictions, and strengthens their character. Ultimately, that is our most sacred mandate, which has seen us through our long history and will carry us to an even brighter future.
Thank you. I would be happy to take a few questions.