Published August 25, 2014
Dear University Community:
As the fall semester gets underway, I want to bid a warm welcome to all the newest members of our academic community—and welcome back to all of our returning students, faculty, and staff!
I’ve spent nearly every fall of my life celebrating the back-to-school season in one way or another—first as a student myself; then as a parent; as a faculty member and visiting scholar overseas; and later as dean, provost, and now president. As each summer draws to a close, I find myself getting excited about all the ways our campuses will be transformed in a matter of days. With the end of each August, I look forward to seeing Founders Plaza teeming with students on their way to class; to seeing UB friends reunite on crowded sidewalks and outdoor cafes on Main Street and downtown–even to the long, winding lines at Tim Hortons and Starbucks that are a sure sign of a new semester underway.
For me—and I imagine for many of us in the academic community—back-to-school season is a time when everything seems fresh and new and ripe for exploration—a time of new beginnings, new friends to meet, new territory to explore, new connections and discoveries to be made.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of joining with many UB faculty, staff, and students for a number of back-to-school celebrations and traditions—both old and new. Last week, I enjoyed meeting many of the thousands of students joining us this year from all over the world at the annual international student welcome. This past Friday, my wife Kamlesh and I greeted students and families at the annual Opening Weekend picnic at Baird Point, right after witnessing one of our favorite UB traditions as thousands of our new students joined forces to form a human UB logo.
This morning, on the first day of undergraduate classes, Vice President Dennis Black and I chatted with students over doughnuts in the Student Union. This Saturday marks the Bulls football home opener—another great rite of fall. And dozens more events will be held over the next week to usher in a new year—from movie nights, international teas, and professional workshops to next weekend’s university-community farmer’s market and UB neighborhood block party and safety fair.
The coming weeks and months of the fall semester will bring countless more ways for our students, faculty, and staff to discover, explore, and connect. And I encourage you to take part in as many of them as your schedule will allow.
Come cheer on our student-athletes at a soccer match or volleyball game. Join us in the Center for the Arts to watch a world-class dance performance by an internationally renowned troupe or by our own rising stars in the student body. Seek out opportunities to attend guest lectures –not just in your field but beyond your discipline. Explore opportunities in our community, whether by volunteering your time at a neighborhood organization or taking advantage of the city’s incredible cultural resources.
These opportunities to mingle, gather, and make new friends are an integral part of academic life. They enhance and invigorate every aspect of what we learn, discover, and create in the classroom, lab, and studio. Each new encounter represents an opportunity to build on what we know, test it in the real world, and share it with others—across our university and beyond our campus borders. That’s what keeps ideas new and fresh—at the start of a new school year and throughout the academic year.
Welcome to a new year at UB, and best wishes for a fall filled with new ideas, new discoveries, and new opportunities.
With best regards,