Tilghman: Connect education with world issues

Sept. 8, 2004 11:29 a.m.

President Shirley M. Tilghman offered a syllabus of sorts to new students, outlining a course of study on making the most of their four years at Princeton. She also urged them, even as freshmen, to begin thinking about connecting their education with the world beyond the campus.

"The challenge facing you is to embrace your studies in a way that only a university such as ours allows, but to do so without losing sight of the ultimate purpose of those studies," said Tilghman in her Opening Exercises address on Sunday, Sept. 5.

"This purpose, in its most basic form," she continued, "is to make our world a better place ethically, economically, socially, politically, environmentally and in a host of other ways, not just because you have to live in this world yourselves but because more than 6.3 billion other people do as well."

New students and their families, as well as returning students and faculty and staff filled the University Chapel for the interfaith service that traditionally marks the beginning of each academic year. People flying colorful kites on long poles and a band of African drummers led the procession of faculty members and administrators in their academic regalia into the chapel. As part of the event, undergraduate students were recognized for their academic achievements during the previous year.

Welcoming the class of 2008 to their first major event on campus, Tilghman said that she has the good fortune to serve as an "oratorical bookend" to their time at Princeton -- addressing them both at Opening Exercises and at Commencement.

"And if the University has done its job well, you will be poised as you leave this privileged place to assume the mantle of the next generation of leaders in your communities and your fields of endeavor," she said.

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Contact: Lauren Robinson-Brown (609) 258-3601