I hope you all had an enjoyable summer. I’d like to welcome all of our returning students back to campus and extend a warm welcome to the members of the Class of 2021.
I believe this will be a great year for all of us at Marist. I would, however, like to note the difficult moment we are living in. Acts of hate motivated by race, ethnicity, and religion seem to be on the rise, and many of these conflicts are being played out on college campuses. I know you are all aware of the recent troubling events in Charlottesville, Virginia. I cannot, of course, guarantee that nothing like this will ever happen at Marist. However, we do have an extremely strong tradition of civility that I hope continues. Marist is proud to be a diverse community of individuals from all different places and backgrounds – we’re stronger because of our diversity and better for the different perspectives we bring. Hatred and disrespect are contrary to our mission of building a strong sense of community and recognizing the innate value in every person.
Others on campus may hold and voice views very different from your own. You may be troubled, or even angered, by things that other people think and say. As an institution of higher learning, it is our responsibility to provide an open forum for the free exchange of ideas and to engage honestly with one other. We can and must do that with respect and honesty. We may disagree – sometimes vigorously – but we must never stop listening to and engaging with one another. We must never lose our respect for each other’s basic humanity, not even for a moment.
I hope you rejoice in our differences and in the opportunity we have to learn from one another. Our expectation of you as members of this community is to not just talk about diversity and inclusion, but to really live it. Attend cultural events, actively engage with those of a different background or point of view, challenge your long-held beliefs, push yourself intellectually.
My best wishes to all of you for a productive and enjoyable academic year.
Marist College President