My fellow Terrapins,
More than 25 years on campus, and I’m still energized by that first-day-of-school feeling. I hope you can feel the buzz of excitement emanating from The Clarice to the Discovery District, from RecWell to the Chapel Lawn. Have you heard the Mighty Sound of Maryland practicing? Stopped by the Dairy to cool down?
I think you can sense my Terrapin Pride. Here are my top five reasons you should have it too:
- Your university is tackling the grand challenges of our time. Even an optimist like me knows we are facing unprecedented challenges. From climate change to gun violence to food insecurity, we are making progress through leadership, research and scholarship. The researchers, faculty, staff and students of this university are taking significant steps and sharing actionable strategies that boldly take on the most difficult issues we face.
- Your leadership team is aligned in creating an inclusive environment. If you are new, you learned this during your TerrapinSTRONG training. For the rest of us, we have the solidarity of every Dean and Vice President signing a pledge that the educational value of campus diversity is one we will not sacrifice. And we prepare for change, spurred by this summer's Supreme Court decision, from a position of strength.
- We have your back. Once you become a Terrapin, you have a support system to rely on. Whether it’s our top-notch resident assistants or a network of professional colleagues, you have a community that wants to offer help. Our Counseling Center is providing even more mental health support, and a host of campus units have programming in place to help our faculty, staff and students should you need it.
- Terps will amaze you. Whether you are planning to catch a NextNow Fest performance or to cheer on our Terps on the athletic fields, prepare to be wowed by the stellar talent that surrounds us. We are the third most winningest institution in the Big Ten in the last decade! In fact, we impress across so many competitions, we are starting a new one. Watch out for the IDEA Factory’s launch of XFoundry@UMD, a first-of-its-kind program that combines Shark Tank with the X Prize to harness our entrepreneurial spirit to tackle large-scale problems.
- Part of what fosters Terrapin Pride is connection. So, I hope you’ll connect with me and your fellow Terps. Attend First Look Fair; join us at Convocation. I’m easy to spot at student competitions, performances and athletics events. I make it a point to walk to meetings, and I live right here on campus. Please ask for a turtle pin, take a selfie for your UMD bucket list, connect with me on social, or simply give me a wave from across McKeldin.
There are dozens more reasons to have Terrapin Pride. We are harnessing the latest advancements in artificial intelligence that are swiftly reshaping the ways we learn and work; doubling down in our investments in climate science and sustainability, underscored by our incoming fleet of new electric buses; sharpening our focus on social justice...and the list goes on. So, I’ll see you at the next great academic lecture or athletic competition. Don’t forget your Terps gear!
Thanks for joining me in looking forward to a year filled with promise, pride and excellence.