President Faust Schedules University Address on September 24

In a break with tradition, President Faust will present her address in person, rather than in written form.

In an e-mail message to the Harvard community this afternoon, President Drew Faust issued an invitation to a sort of state-of-the-University address to be held September 24 at 4:00 p.m. in Sanders Theatre. In lieu of an opening-of-the-year reflection in letter form--as in past academic years--she has opted this year for a live event “to share with you my thoughts about where we find ourselves at the outset of this new academic year, about the directions in which we are headed, and about the principles that guide us.”

The ticketed event will also be webcast live, and so will be available to alumni and other interested viewers outside Sanders and beyond the Boston area. The full text of her message follows:

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

I write to welcome you to the new academic year after what I hope has been an invigorating summer. This September seems to have a different pace and feel, as our changed calendar has accelerated the start of the new term. Labor Day is not a pleasant memory, but an anticipation. Yet classes are under way across all our schools, and I look forward, with you, to a spirited and productive year ahead. 

2008-09 proved to be a time of exceptional challenge, as we, like others, began confronting the implications of a suddenly altered economic landscape while sustaining our commitment to our fundamental purposes and highest aspirations. As we enter this new year, I hope that we can focus together on the essence of what draws each of us here:  the opportunity to teach and learn and serve, in the company of imaginative and dedicated colleagues and as members of a university with academic resources and ambitions second to none. 

The past two Septembers I have written to lay out some broad thoughts about the year before us.  This September, I would like to present my opening-of-year reflections in person.  I invite you to join me on September 24 at 4 p.m. in Sanders Theatre -- or to watch, in real time or later, on the Web.  You can find more information [here]. 

I look forward to the opportunity to share with you my thoughts about where we find ourselves at the outset of this new academic year, about the directions in which we are headed, and about the principles that guide us.  I hope to see many of you then.


Drew Faust

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