President's Blog

Highlights from Opening Convocation

Kudos to Professor Wendi Manuel-Scott for an inspiring, energizing, thought-provoking and profound lecture during New Student Convocation. If you haven’t heard it already, these may well be the best 14 minutes you will spend today:

My remarks once again focused on the university’s namesake, George Mason—who he was, why he matters and his influence on the university today. You can read last year’s version here.

Then I offered my Top 10 recommendations for new students:

  • Keep an open mind. Learning happens not when we prove to others that we’re right but when we realize that we may not be.
  • Pick the brains of our outstanding faculty. Don’t assume they are too busy to care about you. You are their first priority.
  • Study abroad if you can.
  • Don’t wait until your senior year to start looking for a job. Find ways to engage with employers and organizations beginning today.
  • Join at least two initiatives on campus. There are 300 clubs and organizations from which to choose. Pick at least one you may not think you’re interested in.
  • Every once in a while, take the Metro to Washington, D.C., — recently crowned as America’s coolest city, in case you haven’t heard.
  • Take care of your body. Don’t overeat. Don’t overdrink. Don’t do drugs (it’s really stupid). Get plenty of exercise.
  • Do not abuse anyone or tolerate anyone who does. Sexual assault on college campuses happens to perhaps one in five women. About 90 percent of those attacks involve acquaintances, not strangers. Alcohol plays a part in more than half of the incidents. And perpetrators are almost always repeat offenders. If you are aware of an abuse and don’t report it, you just became part of the problem. We should all be part of the solution.
  • Study a lot.
  • Have fun!