Middlebury College students of the Class of 2015 applaud faculty at their first day on campus. (Photo courtesy of Middlebury College)
Members of Middlebury College’s Class of 2015 arrived on campus this week to begin their journey through four years of undergraduate studies at the prestigious Vermont school. The college’s freshmen class—numbering 580 students—greeted each other, met faculty, and listened to a sobering convocation address by President Ronald D. Liebowitz.
Liebowitz who addressed students on campus at Mead Chapel, said students must be prepared “for the challenges of globalization brought on by the events of Sept. 11, 2001.”
Leibowitz told students that 9/11 showed the U.S. was unprepared to deal with a world that had changed dramatically since the 1970s.
Leibowitz also noted that most freshmen were under 9 years old on Sept. 11, 2001.
“For you, the changes in the American psyche brought on by 9/11 are second nature,” he said. “They are the norm, what you know. As a result you will elect to study languages, you will engage in outreach projects anywhere in the world and you will probably work harder and with more focus than most of us ever did to prepare yourselves to compete in labor markets that have become profoundly global. You are in some important ways the antithesis of the pre-9/11 generation.”
Middlebury’s president left students with some sage academic advice: “View your time here as a way to study both broadly and deeply.” He also urged new students to “find a significant connection here and find it early.”