Welcome to New Students

President's Welcome to New Students Remarks
September 10, 2010

Welcome to the University of the Arts.

Before we get the evening started, there's something – 2 things – we need to do.

First, parents: will you join me in congratulating your kids? They're amazing! They've achieved something remarkable in getting to this place and they deserve an ovation.

Now, UArts students: I’d like to ask you to thank your parents.

Your talent, your brilliance as creative people is what brought you here. But it was your parents who helped you unlock and nurture that talent, who make sure that you had the opportunities to explore and to dream!

Not long ago, I was speaking with some of our alumni and faculty about creativity.

There was no question in our minds that what makes UArts special is its capacity to stimulate and support the remarkable creativity of our students.

But our group asked a good question. Lots of other colleges and universities would make the same claim. Engineering schools encourage the technical creativity of their students. Business schools could say rightly that they are seeking to educate creative business leaders.

What makes UArts different, unique?

Unpredictability.

Contradiction.

Risk.

Self-confidence. And self-doubt.

At UArts, we nurture a different sort of creativity.

At UArts, we question ourselves and the world we see around us. And, when we find the answers, we immediately ask what other answers we missed. And what new questions those answers stimulate.

At UArts, we start with a blank screen, an empty canvas, a bare stage. We start with emptiness, which can be awfully scary, and then we ask how we should fill it, and then why we should fill it, and then if we should fill it. Which brings us back to the empty space.

This is what makes the UArts experience special. This is what makes UArts students and UArts graduates special.

They ask questions – of themselves and of their environment. They imagine solutions that haven't been imagined before. They approach the world with openness and skepticism. They approach problems with discipline and imagination.

This is the kind of creative individual that will leave this institution four years from now. And that individual is well-prepared, not only to be an extraordinary artist but an intelligent and responsible leader in any field and any endeavor.

I'm very proud to say that each of you is just that kind of individual. We are thrilled to welcome you to the University of the Arts, excited to work with you over the next four years, eager to see what you will make and become.