September is one of my favorite times of the year on campus. New undergraduate students are enthusiastic to start new chapters of their lives. Returning undergrads and graduate students are excited to be back with their friends in a place that’s become a second home. And just about everyone genuinely seems to be rejuvenated by a break or campus coming back to life. It’s hard to beat the energy. Plus, after two-and-a-half years of general disruption and disjointed activity, the large dose of normality was like a booster shot for my spirits.
A couple of weeks ago, I received a different kind of boost in the form of an event with University alumni in Boston. I’m continuously amazed by how connected our alumni are to the University and each other. Many of the friendships crossed graduating classes, which was made clear by the stories they told. Hearing about their experiences at the University and in the libraries was really heartwarming, but it also made me feel proud to be part of the Rochester community.
My thoughts returned to the alumni in Boston a number of times as I watched students repopulate campus. I expect these students will soon discover that what they learn in class will help them achieve the careers they want, but it’s much of what happens outside the classroom that will shape the people they become. And I thought about how the libraries will host the interactions and collaborations that facilitate those transformations and build those lifelong friendships.
That, too, made me proud.
Vice Provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean
University of Rochester Libraries