Published January 26, 2016
Dear University Community:
Happy New Year! On this chilly January day, I wanted to send along my warmest greetings as we embark on a new spring semester at UB—especially to those of you who faced travel challenges due to the winter storm affecting so much of the East Coast.
With travel schedules beginning to return to normal, I imagine most of our thoughts now are full of plans and goals for the semester ahead—new projects to take up, new syllabi to refine, new course schedules to adjust to, new concepts to master, new languages to learn, new colleagues to work with and meetings to plan.
Every field of study and every profession has its own particular rhythm, and no doubt each of us will quickly settle into that pace as the new semester gets underway. But while the new year is still fresh—before we all become caught up in the daily excitement and challenges of our own particular fields and pursuits—I encourage each of us to find ways to step out of that pace when we can as well.
Maybe that means striking up a conversation with someone you’ve never talked to before, in a field you know little about. Maybe it means taking a chance on an intriguing course outside your major, or going to a lecture, concert, or conference outside your area of expertise. Or maybe it means taking a different daily route to and from your office so you have the chance to encounter new people, new sights, and new ideas each day.
One of my great joys as president is that I have the opportunity every day to step far outside my own academic discipline and my own profession. On any given day, through conversations and dialogue, I have the opportunity to understand the UB experience afresh from the perspective of new students, seasoned faculty, first-time visitors, and veteran staff members. And every day, I learn countless new ideas and ways of thinking that challenge and enrich my own.
Of the many strengths that distinguish our great university, I think by far the greatest is our incredible diversity of viewpoints, backgrounds, and expertise. We are an interdisciplinary, international, and richly multifaceted community of scholars, artists, and professionals from all over the world and all walks of life. And that complexity represents endless possibilities for discovery, creativity, and innovation.
Great ideas and big discoveries, like those made every day at UB, are made when we step outside the comfort zone and beyond our own immediate experience. They’re made at the intersection of different fields and different vantage points—where different perspectives come together to tackle a challenge from multiple points of view. And every new conversation, scholarly collaboration, and unexpected intellectual experience brings an opportunity for these intersections to take place.
So here’s to a new year full of possibility, discovery, and fresh ideas. Best wishes for an invigorating and rewarding spring semester!
With best regards,