Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Pentacrest East Lawn


To this remarkable assembly of new students, welcome to the University of Iowa!

I know that the past few days have been among the most exciting in your life as you have prepared to launch your college careers. The coming weeks will offer you many more new adventures as you begin your classes, join campus organizations, and become part of the campus and Iowa City community. In all these activities, you will experience one of the most transformative aspects of college life, interacting with new ideas, new perspectives, and new people.

A university campus brings people from diverse backgrounds and experiences together to join in this remarkable journey of learning and discovery. Already, you’ve no doubt met a lot of people who are very different from you, whether it’s in terms of ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic background, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and even geography. For some of you, this campus community will be the most diverse environment you’ve ever lived in. These interactions deepen both your educational and social experience here, and I encourage you to push yourself to keep connecting with the diversity of our university campus. So, for example, if you’re from the city, learn about life on a farm or in a small town from your peers who come from that background. If you spent most of your high school years hanging out with fellow performing arts students, get to know those biology and business majors on your residence hall floor. And I especially encourage all of you to get to know students from other countries.

Twelve percent of our undergraduate students come from somewhere else besides the United States. Both our international and domestic students have come here looking for an education at a great school and a life-changing cultural experience. Students from the United States have a fantastic opportunity to learn about different cultures firsthand through personal interactions and relationships with international students, and students from other countries can get to know American culture here in unique, meaningful, and personal ways. So I encourage both domestic and international students to step out of your comfort zones and be open to friendships and collaborative relationships with people who at first may seem very different to you. You’ll learn a lot of new things from them, but you’ll also soon discover that there are many more similarities than differences. Our common ground is that you’re all students, we’re all Hawkeyes, we’re all here to learn and grow, and we all have an important part to play in making the University of Iowa’s campus culture vibrant, open, exciting, and inspiring.

We welcome each and every one of you into the Hawkeye family with open arms, open hearts, and open minds. We are honored that you chose to have that experience here with us, and we can’t wait to see you excel and succeed.