Published April 23, 2014
Good afternoon, and welcome to our 10th annual Celebration of Student Academic Excellence!
For the past decade, we have been recognizing our outstanding students—and their dedicated mentors—across a wide spectrum of academic fields and creative expression.
It has become a favorite university tradition, and one I look forward to greatly each year.
One of my favorite aspects of this celebration is the chance to experience some of the fruits of our students’ scholarly and creative activity, and learn more from our students themselves about the process leading up to it.
On your way in to the auditorium today, you saw many impressive examples of that activity as over 200 of our undergraduates displayed their original work in the atrium.
Earlier today, many of our outstanding graduate students also presented their research at the Sigma Xi poster displays.
We’ve also witnessed the amazing work of our students in the arts. Later in our program, we’ll be treated to a performance from the student production of Les Misérables. And this afternoon in the Drama Theatre, students from the cast and crew gave us a wonderful glimpse of the creative process at work.
That is really what this celebration of student academic excellence is all about—we’re celebrating not only the fruits of academic excellence, but the creative and intellectual process that led up to them.
I’ve spent the day talking with our students about the ideas that inspired their work, and how they shaped and developed those ideas into bold new forms of thought and expression.
As any of our students can tell you, bringing an idea to fruition is a long, complex, sometimes frustrating, yet immensely rewarding process.
But it is rarely a solitary process. The kind of effort involved in producing the impressive research and creative expression we’re celebrating today requires a great deal of support, collaboration, and input from fellow scholars and artists, as well as from the faculty and staff mentors who have guided them along the way.
So today we celebrate that process, we celebrate its outcomes, and we celebrate its impact on the world around us.
That tremendous potential is very clearly reflected in the work showcased here. Our students across the disciplines are developing and shaping ideas that will make a positive and lasting impact on the world, from examining the challenges of today’s urban infrastructure and cutting-edge research in pharmaceuticals and medicine, to groundbreaking work on nano-particles, the application of digital media to architectural design, and evaluating the financial aid process in higher education.
Individually and collectively, the students we honor today embody our university’s mission as a public research university—to make the world a better place through our ideas, our innovations, and our engagement.
Please join me in applauding all of our outstanding students, as well the faculty mentors and dedicated staff who have guided and supported them in their academic pursuits.
Congratulations to all our honorees, and best wishes for much continued success!