RACHEL GERBER: Good morning. Good morning. New Cornellians, family, friends, distinguished guests, and orientation volunteers, my name is Rachel Gerber. And it is my honor to be amongst the first to welcome you to Cornell. I am the co-chair of the 2014 orientation steering committee, a group of 15 students that have been working together since this past September planning for your arrival. Together we've scheduled and organized over 100 events; recruited, interviewed, and selected over 700 orientation volunteers; and, together with all of our volunteers, successfully moved over 15,000 boxes on move-in day yesterday.
I would now like to ask you to join us in recognizing the university officials who are with us this morning. Please hold your applause until the end. David Skorton, president. Kathryn Boor, dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Laura Brown, senior vice provost for undergraduate education. Joseph Burns, dean of faculty. Lance Collins, dean, College of Engineering. Kent Fuchs, provost. Lindsay Hansen, assistant dean of students. Kent Hubbell, dean of students. Michael Johnson, dean, School of Hotel Administration. Robert Smith, associate dean, Industrial and Labor Relations. Kent Kleinman, dean, Architecture, Art, and Planning. Barbara Knuth, vice provost and dean, Graduate School. Joel Malina, vice president for university relations.
Alan Matthews, dean, Human Ecology. Susan Murphy, vice president for student and academic services. Mary Opperman, vice president for human resources. Charles Phlegar, vice president for alumni affairs and development. Gretchen Ritter, dean, College of Arts and Sciences.
Also here with us are university trustees. Robert Abrams, emeritus trustee. Bob Appel, emeritus trustee. Alan Mittman, trustee. Carolyn Neuman, emeritus trustee. Michael Troy, trustee. And student-elected trustees Ross Gitlin and Annie O'Toole.
Also here with us is the president of the student assembly, Sarah Balik. In addition, I would like to acknowledge the members of the 2014 orientation steering committee. They are also sitting on stage and have made much of this coming orientation a reality. Bobby Dougherty, Manuel Fernandez, Tyler [? Fujher, ?] Thomas [? Gottier, ?] [? Xena ?] [? Calusia, ?] Alec Korzenowski, Arthur Peterson, Bianca Rodriguez, Rachel Smith, Joe [? Spivak, ?] [? Amoye ?] [? Usen ?], Sandy [? Vonka, ?] Alexa [? Neurowski, ?] and my co-chair, Winnie Huang.
Part of working on the orientation steering committee includes recruiting and selecting hundreds of orientation volunteers. This is my second year on the committee, so I personally have interviewed hundreds of students. We ask several questions during volunteer interviews, but my favorite question to ask is what's the best piece of advice you could give to a new student.
I always like to use this question. I like to see what words of wisdom each candidate had. Typically it was something along the lines of, "Try something new," and "Be friendly." But one student's answer really struck a chord with me when they looked at me plainly and answered, I would begin by admitting that Cornell can be completely overwhelming at times. Some things will feel like they're only going uphill. And your work will pile up fast. You'll think to yourself many times, especially at the beginning, why did I do this? I could have gone anywhere else.
But think about what brought you here, that one thing this outstanding institution has to offer that you could have found no place else, the factor which drove you to choose Cornell. Remember that, and keep that as your anchor. Because through the late nights of studying and never-ending Ithaca winters, your anchor will ground you and remind you why Cornell. Why it may not be easy, but it will be worth it
I sat in your seat just three years ago. I never believed it when others said it, so you probably won't believe me right now. But your time here will go by so quickly. I stand before you a rising senior, all too aware of the fact that more of my days on the hill are behind me than in front of me. It goes by fast. Make the most of it.
Today marks your beginning at Cornell. And the best piece of advice I can give you is to go out and find the thing that will ground you here. This is an enormous university and you have reason to be a little nervous about what the next three, four, or five years may hold. But this university is home to a tremendous campus full of endless opportunity and thousands of avenues for you to explore.
If you're not quite sure what brought you to Cornell yet, start looking. If you think you already know, you should keep looking, too. Cornell offers something for everyone. Join clubs, the ones that are like those you did in high school and the ones that just sound interesting. Sign up for all sorts of classes, the ones your hallmates are talking about.
Email that professor. Knock on the door down the hall. And go to as many events as you can. Find what will ground you here. Because I can promise when you do, that this place, Cornell, will become the greatest place you have ever known. And so on behalf of the 2014 orientation steering committee and all of our volunteers, it is truly my pleasure to finally say, welcome to Cornell, class of 2018 and new transfer students. We are so excited to have you here.
Now please join me in welcoming the student assembly president, and my very good friend, Sarah Balik.
SARAH BALIK: I would like to give a warm welcome to new Cornellians, families, and friends to Cornell University. My name is Sarah Balik, and I'm honored to be speaking to you all as the president of the student assembly, our undergraduate student government. A few years ago, I would've never imagined myself on this side of the podium, and as such am very grateful that I have the opportunity to speak with you all today. Today you are Cornellians. Whatever path you take during your time at Cornell, or long after you leave Ithaca, this is an identity that you will take with you and a community of friends and colleagues that you will be a part of for life.
You are now part of a network of thousands of people, some of the world's most influential researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and visionaries. You will learn soon, if you haven't already, that this community is as proud as much as it cares. Today you must already have this pride because you've worked so diligently to make it here.
Might I mention that you are part of the most selective class in the history of this university. You are sitting in a stadium filled with valedictorians, musical prodigies, world-class athletes, and theater stars, all people who will be the leaders of tomorrow. Cornell not only embraces this academic, cultural, religious, and ideological diversity, but it also thrives on it.
This has been a part of Cornell's culture since its founding. As I'm sure you know, our motto, which was written by our namesake, Ezra Cornell, is, "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study." This means so much more than being able to pick and choose from the university's 80 majors and 70 minor fields of study. At Cornell, you will have the opportunity to do almost anything you could imagine outside of the classroom, too. Your time at Cornell will expand your mind and open your world to an endless list of possibilities.
Today you will unpack your suitcases and join this community. Whether you feel a little alone among the masses or not, if I can offer you one piece of advice, it would be to actively seek out a community within Cornell that evokes your passion, stimulates your interests, and makes you feel at home during your years here. There are over 1,000 student organizations. And there's never a shortage of things to do, shows to watch, people to meet, or food to try.
Professors, administrators, and the staff at Gannett are also wonderful resources who genuinely want to help you make the most out of your time here, whether it is your best day or your worst. Take advantage of this time and find comfort in the fact that it is OK, or rather encouraged, to be vulnerably curious.
Take classes outside of your major. Try out a water skiing gym class because you can. Fail a prelim, which is Cornell slang for exam, and discover that studying in college is a breed of its own. Introduce yourself to strangers sitting near you in the dining hall, only to become best friends. Maybe if you want to get involved and don't know where to start, consider running for student government. We have seven open seats in our upcoming election.
Just as it is important to be an active member of the Cornell community on campus, it is equally important to remember to give back to the place that has given us so much. Cornell would not be Cornell without Ithaca. And as students, this is sometimes easy to forget. Soon you will love Ithaca, even though you might not feel that way when you're trekking up the hill in the harsh winters. Explore downtown and the commons, volunteer local charities, and feel the involvement in one of the nation's most loved college towns. These are experiences that will shape you into an active citizen for life.
A few years from now, you will leave Cornell with a degree. But your time here will have so much more meaning than that. Take advantage of every moment you have on the hill because those moments are far too scarce. Your class is from 50 states and countries around the world. You all have different backgrounds, cultures, and unique identities. But there is one thing that will bring you all together throughout your college career and beyond-- the fact that you are all Cornellians.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org at any time. Congratulations on the beginning of your Cornell career. Thank you.
Now please join me in welcoming undergraduate student-elected member of the board of the trustees, Ross Gitlin.
ROSS GITLIN: Welcome again, class of 2018, to Cornell University. My name is Ross Gitlin and I'm a senior in the ILR School. And I currently serve as the undergraduate student-elected trustee at Cornell University. This is an exciting time to join the Cornell community, where over the coming year, we will be celebrating our institution's sesquicentennial, the 150th year since its founding. There'll be many celebrations around the world, from right here in Ithaca during homecoming weekend and later in April during Charter Day, to London and Hong Kong. As new students, you'll be joining the rest of the community in these celebrations and reflecting on Cornell's rich history and achievements.
Beyond the celebrations, you will also experience firsthand why our university means so much to all of us and to the 250,000 alumni around the globe. Standing before you today, I cannot help but envy that you're all just beginning your college experience. Though you've likely heard this hundreds of times before, the journey you're about to embark upon will be full of incredible experiences and opportunities.
At a school like Cornell, the options are truly limitless. Students, staff, and faculty across Cornell's global campus and Ithaca, New York and [? Cutter ?] are consistently taking strides to significantly improve the world for others as we work on solutions to society's greatest challenges. Here just a few examples. At Weill Cornell Medical College, doctors are working to improve our health through innovative research. One doctor is searching for a cure for blindness. She is creating an artificial retina that someday might help people who suffer from degenerative retinal disease.
At the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, faculty and students are collaborating on projects to address climate change and foster renewable energy, such as teaching farmers in Southeast Africa sustainable agriculture practices to ensure that their food supply is stable and healthy as our world encounters climate change. At Cornell NYC Tech, brilliant minds are working on new technology and creating transformational products that will serve as an economic driver for New York City. The list goes on and on, and Cornell's footprint can be seen worldwide, both in the education of our students as well as in the manner in which Cornell continues to improve our global community for the better.
You know, during my first-year orientation in August of 2011, I was sitting through the ILR School's orientation event when the dean of the ILR School, Harry Katz, said that each of us belonged here. That the admissions office does not make mistakes. That meant a lot to me. Each and every one of you too belongs here. And you will succeed here just as Dean Katz said to us a few years ago.
And on the way, take a step back throughout your time here at Cornell. Sooner than you know it, believe me, you'll be entering your final year at Cornell just as I am right now. I'm excited about what the future holds, as well as the prospect of putting what I learned at Cornell to meaningful use. But I am also saddened by the fact that I only have about nine months here remaining.
So take a step back. Relish the time that you have here, the moments in the dorms, fraternities and sororities, clubs and athletic teams, with the people you are just meeting now, the friends who you will have for a lifetime. Take a step back and savor the moments that you have researching under the guidance of a favorite professor, or even studying for a final exam. Because during your journey here on the hill, you will have the chance to figure out what you like to do and what you most would like to do once you actually leave Cornell.
Take a step back and simply take in the beauty of the area around you. Take a trip to the farmer's market. Go hike, bike, or run on the many trails around us. Go enjoy some music on the commons or visit a great diner close to Ithaca College. I can assure you that they've got some great scrambled eggs and home fries.
And lastly, just in May, Ed Helms spoke to the graduating class and shared a quote from his character Andy Bernard from the series The Office. He quoted his character Andy from the series finale and said, "I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them." Last spring, while listening to those lines, it actually hit me that I was going to be graduating Cornell and soon be leaving Cornell.
As you continue to unpack and settle in, just remember this. You're going to have some of the greatest times of your life here at this school. And in those moments know that in fact you are in the good old days. If you need any help or advice along the way, feel free to email me at rhg68-- rhg68 just in case anyone has a pen and paper. If I can be of any assistance please do not ever hesitate to reach out.
Though it may seem large and impossibly hard to navigate right now, Cornell's a tightly-knit community with many individuals here to guide you. Congratulations again, class of 2018, and welcome to Cornell.
CHOIR: [SINGING] Spirit of wisdom like an altar burning high o'er this darkling world vexed with little learning, let thine enkindling ray 'round about these towers dwell, lighting thy hills, Cornell.
Thou art not stone so much as one man's dreaming. Let then thy lamp be bright and thy doors be gleaming. And let us now go forth, doubt and darkness to dispel. Shine from thy hills, Cornell.
WINNIE HUANG: Welcome again, everyone, to orientation. We hope you enjoyed your first night here at Cornell and we're looking forward to continue welcoming you to the Cornell community in your first week here. It's hard to believe that three years has passed since I first stepped foot onto this beautiful campus. Never did I expect to be at Cornell, to be standing in front of all of you today.
Both my parents came to America from China when I was three years old and worked relentlessly hard to make the American dream come true for my brother and I. Upon the arrival of my acceptance letter, my parents both beamed with joy, for I was to be the first in my family to head to college.
While they were extremely proud and excited for the start of my college experience, there was also nervousness. To them, college was an unknown, and they didn't know how to properly prepare me. As for me, I personally knew I wanted to become an active, engaged, and dedicated student within the Cornell community, but was overwhelmed by all the opportunities that existed.
Orientation truly helped ease those worries. I became acquainted with the campus, met amazing people around the world, was introduced to the variety of opportunities that existed here. As I shared my orientation experiences with my family, they became at ease about my time in Ithaca. The phone calls that had nervous questions about my new friends, classes, and activities on campus soon became energetic inquiries about the terrific day I had, or the new club that I recently joined.
I would tell stories like how a dinner with five of my hallmates turned into a banquet of 20. I talked about bonding with my orientation leader group and going to exciting events with them. My family and I soon realized that everyone was looking forward to making new friends and was trying to adjust to college. And I felt relieved to meet so many students in the same boat that I was.
Everyone also got lost at some point during their first week here. I ended up exploring the campus by getting what I would like to call "strategically lost." I'm not the greatest at directions, and I remember walking to Cornell campus store from Balch Hall with a new friend to pick up books and supplies. We got hopelessly lost on the way back, wandering in the complete wrong direction of North Campus, yet we eventually found our way back the scenic route across Triphammer Footbridge and made our way back to North Campus.
In my hour-long walk around campus, I discovered a lot more new buildings, and in the process bonded with a new friend who eventually became one of my closest friends at Cornell. Orientation is truly a time where the whole campus is bustling with excitement. And I highly encourage you all to take advantage of this week and put yourself out there no matter what worries you may have. I challenge you to do three things this week-- meet as many people as you can, explore the campus, and join new clubs.
To meet new people, be willing to introduce yourself first. Sit with someone you haven't sat before or met before. Share stories with those you end up sitting next to at events. And extend that hand out to a potential new friend. To explore the campus, go to events and meetings in different quads and areas. Get strategically lost and explore areas of the campus you may not frequent in the coming years. Be spontaneous about it, as well. There are so many orientation events, both on and off campus, that will give you a great introduction to Ithaca and Cornell.
I highly encourage you all to take risks. Step out of your comfort zone and try something completely new that may intimidate you. Going to that information session, audition, or tryout will not hurt you in any way. Worse comes to worst, you'll have a story to tell your new friends. Maybe you'll end up celebrating your achievements or laughing about your mishaps. Either way, you're adding chapters to your Cornell adventure, and there's no better place to do it than here and now.
If you succeed in meeting new people, exploring the campus, joining clubs in your orientation week, you are starting to make your mark on Cornell and contributing to the community of passionate, bright, and inspiring individuals here. Finally, I'd like to conclude with a quote from one of my favorite authors, Dr. Seuss. "If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good."
In your orientation week, embrace that fun Cornell spirit and start making those connections now. Become the student, the friend, the leader, the member, the contributor. Define what you want to be at Cornell and the community here will support you all the way. Congratulations again, class of 2018 and new transfer students, and welcome to the Big Red family. Thank you.
And now I have the pleasure to introduce a board-certified cardiologist, a university administrator, a saxophonist and jazz aficionado, an advocate for the arts and humanities, and Cornell University's 12th president, Dr. David J. Skorton.
President Skorton holds faculty appointments in internal medicine and pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and in biomedical engineering at the College of Engineering here on Cornell's Ithaca campus. President Skorton earned his bachelor's degree in psychology in 1970 and an MD in 1974, both from Northwestern University. Following a medical residency and cardiology fellowship at the University of California Los Angeles, he went to the University of Iowa as an instructor.
He was president of the University of Iowa for three years beginning in March, 2003 and a faculty member at the University of Iowa for 26 years. President Skorton and his wife, Dr. Robin Davisson, are extremely excited for the journey you're about to embark on. Don't be surprised if you see them enjoying a meal in one of the dining halls, at an orientation event, or hanging out in one of your new favorite spots on North Campus this week. Please join me in welcoming Cornell University's 12th president, President David J. Skorton.
PRESIDENT DAVID SKORTON: Thanks so much, Winnie. And welcome, everyone. You're Cornellians now. What do you think about that?
Well, you are joining one of the most distinguished universities anywhere in this world-- comprehensive and excellent, full of terrific people. And with all of you joining us, and with all the wonderful skills and perspectives you, our newest students, will bring to campus, I have no doubt that we're about to become an even stronger university and an even better community. Whether you're a new student, a parent, a family member, a friend, we welcome you to the university and to what we hope will be a lifelong relationship with each other and with Cornell.
And as Rachel, and Sarah, and Ross, and Winnie so eloquently said, Cornell is a strong, and talented, and positive, and stimulating, and supportive community. And we are all very glad that you are becoming part of the Cornell family. Give yourself a round of applause for making such a smart choice.
Now, I thought those were four terrific speeches, but there's a little too much negativity about the weather here. And I just want to digress for a moment from my dry, prepared speech to tell you that winter here is not that big a deal. Usually, students, you will begin to be able to feel your toes and fingers by, say, April, something like that. But I've heard two descriptions of the seasons in Ithaca and I want to share those quickly with you. And maybe later in the year you'll tell me whether you think these are apt or not.
One is that there are two seasons in Ithaca-- July 4 and winter. And I think that's a slight exaggeration. I think a little more accurate description by one of my predecessors, then-President Hunter Rawlings, was that there are four seasons in Ithaca-- and you may relate to this today-- already winter, winter, still winter, and construction.
And for those of you who tried to drive across East Avenue yesterday, you know what I'm talking about.
Now for me, and for many of us on the campus, today is the most optimistic day of the year. Because with your arrival, this 150-year-old university is renewed. Our 3,261 entering first-year students come from 49 states-- all except, for some reason, North Dakota-- plus Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, and 51 other countries. And you join an even more diverse community comprising people from every state and from over 100 countries.
51% of you new students are women. Over 13% of you are first-generation college students. And nearly 43% of you self-identify as students of color, making you the most diverse class in the 150-year history of Cornell University.
And as was mentioned, you were selected, you 3,261, from more than 43,000 applicants, making you the most selective Cornell class ever. Very impressive.
Now, I was a transfer student when I went to college, and so I relate especially to the 572 entering transfer students, almost evenly divided between men and women, also very diverse and accomplished. And your ranks include 166 students who self-identify as students of color, 35 international students, and 98 first-generation college students-- numbers that are all up slightly from last year. And welcome to all transfer students, as well.
Now as was mentioned since we are celebrating the university's 150th birthday this year, with many opportunities to reflect on Cornell's past, and present, and future during a sesquicentennial year, I tracked down some specifics about Cornell's very first students matriculated in 1868 to see how you and they compare. And I want to answer the question I know is in the minds of many of the first-year students looking at the color of my hair. No, I was not here to meet those first students.
1868-- instead of stellar SAT or ACT scores, AP credits or outstanding high school transcripts, hopeful candidates for Cornell's first classes sat in examinations here in Ithaca the day before the university opened and were tested to see who could get in, in grammar, and spelling, and geography, and algebra through quadratics. Those who were judged qualified-- 332 students in the first-year class and 80 admitted with advanced credit-- were, like you, a diverse and fascinating group.
They ranged in age from 15 to 30-- all of them, I must tell you, men. Because despite Cornell's aspirations for co-education, in 1868 the university did not have facilities to accommodate women students. Most were from New York State, although a few came from as far away as California, Florida, and the Dakota Territory. And even at its opening, even in 1868, Cornell was an international university with the first matriculants also coming from Canada, and England, and Russia, and Brazil.
Some were attracted by the university's then-radical openness to people of all races, and creeds, and economic circumstances, and by our emphasis on practical studies as well as on liberal arts characteristics that are even stronger in Cornell's current culture. And a remarkable number of those first-year students in 1868 went on to distinguished careers in science, and politics, and education, and art, and literature, and other fields.
And that record of achievement by Cornell graduates continues to this day. And we hope that you'll contribute to it. We know that you'll contribute to it. We're sure that you'll contribute to it while you're here at Cornell and when you join those 250,000 distinguished alumni.
Like our early students, I believe you'll soon discover that Cornell is an intellectually rigorous and unbelievably creative place across the whole range of academic offerings, including the sciences, and the social sciences, the professional studies, and the humanities, and the arts. An Ivy League institution, as well as the land grant university for New York state, we engage the world, as well as the state and our local community, through our teaching, and our learning, and our research, and our creative work, and our outreach activities.
In fact, our commitment to public engagement makes our research and our education even more rigorous and even more relevant, and aims to nurture educated global citizens. We are also a welcoming and caring community where people look out for one another and where we help each other. You've probably already discovered from your interactions with the hundreds of volunteers, and orientation leaders, and residents advisors that we really care about you already. And we want you to care about each other and to care about us.
You'll continue to discover the friendliness and openness of our community during the many activities that this terrific orientation steering committee has organized for you over the next few days. How many are staying in Donlon this year? How many of you are glad that your parents and other family members are going to be leaving soon? I'm sorry to tell you that my wife, Professor Davisson, and I are moving into Donlon tomorrow just to make you miserable during orientation week. So if you're in Mews or somewhere else, you got off lucky this time.
Now, what does all of this mean for the new students, all these things that you've heard today, all the things that I mentioned to you? What does it mean for new students just starting your college career? I want to share four general thoughts with you first.
Cornell is absolutely and first and foremost a place to pursue your intellectual passions. You or your parents may expect you to have one clear, linear, straight path to a degree and subsequently a career. And of course, many of you will. But college is a terrific time, an important time, a critical time to discover what excites you, to learn about subjects far outside your major, and, yes, to take some intellectual risks. Make time each semester, if you can, to take at least one course for the sheer joy of learning in something that interests you. And if your intellectual interests change over time, well, that's really OK.
Here's one way to get started. Check out the Explore series workshops that are listed in the orientation guide, as well as in the brochure that you all received. The Explore series workshops cover a range of topics from race and its depiction in popular culture to ethical issues surrounding genetically modified organisms. And each of the eight workshops will be led by a faculty, by faculty who teach what we call our university courses, which are open without prerequisites to students throughout the university.
And all of them will be held at the Carol Tatkon Center, your intellectual support and resource center on North Campus, where throughout the year you can meet faculty members informally, attend study skills sessions and special programs, and find knowledgeable upper-level students who can and will answer your questions.
Second, get to know your professors. They of course will be a critical part of your Cornell experience while you are on campus and often long after you earn your degrees. Cornell faculty members are world leaders in their fields or well on the way to becoming such leaders. And they are also inspiring teachers who care about you as students and who care about you as people.
You'll meet some of them in your discussions about the new student reading project selection, Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio by Amara Lakhous. When classes start, be sure to ask your professor questions during class, of course, and after class. Catch them during office hours. See if you can participate in research and creative activities in their labs or studios. Get to know your faculty advisor.
There are faculty in residence and faculty fellows on North Campus and house deans, and professors, and house fellows on West Campus, all of whom share meals with students and host programs on topics that might interest you. Robin and I, for example, are faculty fellows at Becker House and you'll see us there.
The first professor dinner takes place this Monday, August 25 on West Campus. And a number of these professors are teaching one- and two-credit courses on both the North and West campuses as part of our Learning Where You Live initiative. Take advantage of whatever opportunities to connect with your professors work best and make sense to you. But please make it your goal that before you leave Cornell there'll be at least four professors-- one from each year-- who know you very well. And for architecture students, make it five.
My third piece of advice is to learn the culture and expectations of your new community, Cornell, so that you can participate fully and you can participate responsibly in life here at Cornell. You will often hear the phrase, from me and others, "caring community." In the coming months and the coming years, consider it a reminder to treat each other with respect, to take good care of yourselves, and those around you, and of course to take prudent measures for your safety and well being.
Membership in our caring community means that if you experience academic or personal challenges-- and we all do-- you do not have to struggle through them alone. Membership also means looking out for others and helping them get assistance when they need it. Please remember every day and every night that it is a sign of strength to ask for help.
During these first weeks, there'll be several required programs to help you learn exactly what is expected of you as a member of the Cornell community. And these range from the interactive Tapestry of Possibilities program, which aims to raise awareness about what it means to live in and thrive and contribute to a diverse and inclusive community, to the Speak About It program, which deals very important issues of consent and sexual assault education and prevention.
Cornell Essentials this year includes an introduction to academic integrity, which in the age of internet search engines has become more critical to understand than ever before. We have found that sometimes students may not understand that a particular behavior is cheating, or understand exactly what constitutes plagiarism. The program, along with the "Essential Guide to Academic Integrity at Cornell," which you'll receive at Cornell Essentials, can help you sort this all out. But please know that we will hold you to high standards and expect you to behave ethically in all that you do. And we all hold ourselves to these very same standards.
My fourth and last piece of advice echoes what this morning's student leaders have said so eloquently. To experience the full scope of Cornell, be an active member of the campus and an active member of our wonderful community. Cornell has a strong tradition of outreach and public engagement that goes back to our land grant roots and touches every aspect of our university.
Each year, your fellow Cornell students and you provide some 400,000 hours of service through the Cornell Public Service Center and the activities of the more than 1,000 recognized student organizations on campus. Yes, more than 1,000 student groups. You can learn more about these organizations during Club Fest, which will be held Sunday, September 7, from 1:00 through 4:00 PM in Barton Hall.
There are also intramural sports and many programs in your own residence halls, of course, that provide opportunities to become involved. And through the Engaged Learning and Research, another university-wide center, you will find opportunities for academic service learning, community-based research, and public scholarship across a very wide spectrum of academic disciplines and programs.
Consider how you might include in your Cornell experience an extended time abroad. Studying and conducting research and scholarship or doing an internship in another country and in another culture can help to build your global understanding and competency. But of course if you want to do this, it's important to start planning early so that you get the most from the experience while continuing to stay on track for your degree.
My last piece of advice is actually for parents and families here this morning. It actually seems like just yesterday that I sent my own son off to college. And I can relate to the very complex emotions that many of you may be feeling this week-- pride that your student is now a Cornell student, but also maybe a twinge of concern about the changes that will take place in your student and in your own life. Debora Spar, president of Barnard College, and I were on MSNBC's Morning Joe last Monday talking about this topic. And it's a universal topic.
Host Mika Brzezinski had just taken her own daughter to college and was feeling a little unsettled, as many of you may be, by the new, large hole in your household. There is no doubt that the college years can be emotional and tumultuous. And it's sometimes hard to let go. At least it was for me. But the fact that your sons and daughters are here at Cornell means that you and they have done a great job, and these students are ready for this next big step. They are ready.
Of course, you should stay in touch with your students. Text them. Email them. Call them-- but not constantly. I appreciate the fact that the new students are not texting me right now during my speech. But before you leave this weekend, family members and students, talk to each other about expectations. How often you'd like to be in touch and whether it should be a phone call or a text.
And as hard as it may seem, parents, the most helpful thing you can do now for these accomplished young adults is to trust in their own wisdom and their evolving problem-solving abilities. They will make mistakes, as we all did, and as we all do. But let them find a way forward as much as possible on their own.
This freedom is important. This freedom is critical in their development as competent and mature adults. We do hope that many of you will come back for first-year parents' weekend October 31 to November 2. And as was mentioned, you're invited to help us celebrate Cornell's 150th birthday on Charter Day weekend April 24 to 27, 2015. Watch our website for more information.
You have a lot of people to get advice from, students and parents. And if you can't find advice anywhere else, and if you want to let me know something, my email is David.Skorton@cornell.edu and I'm always thrilled to hear from you.
So new students and families, welcome to the start of a great adventure and a journey together. Welcome to the academic breadth and depth, the intellectual rigor and societal engagement that are hallmarks of Cornell. Welcome to a close-knit community whose members, faculty, and staff, and students come here from all over the world to learn, and discover, and create, and make a difference.
And know that you are each already full members of this community. We are excited, and honored, and very, very pleased to have you here. We look forward to getting to know you and learning from you. New students and families, welcome and thank you.
Now for the first of many, many times, I'm going to ask you to stand and join me in the alma mater. The words are in your program. And thank you again, and have a terrific weekend.
CHOIR: [SINGING] Far above Cayuga's waters with its waves of blue stands our noble alma mater, glorious to view. Lift the chorus, speed it onward, loud her praises tell. Hail to thee, our alma mater. Hail, all hail, Cornell.
Far above the busy humming of the bustling town, reared against the arch of heaven, looks she proudly down. Lift the chorus, speed it onward, loud her praises tell. Hail to thee, our alma mater. Hail, all hail, Cornell.
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President David J. Skorton welcomed the Class of 2018 at the Convocation for New Students and Families at Schoellkopf Stadium Aug. 23, 2014, offering advice, encouragement and support. He and four seniors described the journey ahead for first-year and transfer students.