Good evening. I’m very happy to welcome back the faculty and staff and to extend a warm welcome to all of our new colleagues. We have much to look forward to as we begin anew.
On behalf of the faculty, I’m equally happy to welcome transfer students, graduate students, and the class of 2019. We are eager to meet you, to challenge you, and to be enriched by your presence.
I will be brief in my greeting, but I would like to offer a few thoughts for your contemplation. Many of us, including all of the class of 2019 read Will Allen’s A Good Food Revolution over the summer. In thinking about what I might share with you tonight, I thought about the book and some of the lessons we might draw from Allen’s example. I’d like to talk about a couple of those lessons tonight.
The first lesson is: Have the courage to follow your heart. Early in Allen’s narrative we learn that although he had become a successful and comfortable businessman, his life had little joy. His choices may have fattened his wallet but left him feeling empty and unfulfilled. Fortunately for Allen, the many lives he’s touched, and “the good food revolution,” Allen had the courage to tune down the external pressures to play it safe and listen more intently to his heart.
As you navigate your years at Bucknell, I urge you to listen to your heart, to notice what it is that brings you joy. Allow yourself to be surprised by how fast time flies when you study certain subjects or work on particular projects because the activity is so engaging and intrinsically satisfying. These are the experiences worth multiplying.
Will Allen had no idea that he would create Growing Power when he quit his corporate job and opened Will’s Roadside Stand. He just knew he loved the smell of freshly tilled earth, the taste of collard greens straight from the garden, and sharing the earth’s bounty with others. He followed his heart and over time he created something beautiful. I don’t think you can ever go wrong by following your heart. I urge you to have the courage to follow where your heart leads even if you cannot see the final destination.
Another lesson Allen offers is: Don’t let fear of failure keep you on the sidelines of your life. Allen certainly had his fair share of failures along the way, but each setback became an opportunity not just to learn how to do the thing better, but to develop resilience and greater confidence in his ability to rise above the inevitable hardships of life.
There are many opportunities at Bucknell both inside and outside of the classroom for you to grow, to develop new interests and to master new skills. I urge you not to be timid but to seize these opportunities even when, perhaps especially when, you fear you may fail. Challenging yourself even when it meets with failure will make you a more interesting and resilient person.
You have your whole life in front of you. You shouldn’t have it all figured out, but if you listen to your heart and challenge yourself even when you are afraid, you will look back on your time at Bucknell with pride and look ahead with confidence toward a beautiful life.
We faculty are here to both challenge and support you. We want to share with you our love for what we teach and help you to discover what you love. In turn, we are eager to be inspired by your curious minds and awed by your talents. It is with a sense of joyful anticipation that we look forward to many conversations with you in the years ahead.
Welcome to Bucknell.