CMU Welcomes Graduate Students To Be Audacious, Courageous, Tenacious
By Heidi Opdyke
Carnegie Mellon University welcomed 2,600 new graduate students to campus on Monday, Aug. 14. Sixty-one percent arrived from 67 nations and more than 38 percent of the students are women.
"Let's be clear: It doesn't matter if you are from Pittsburgh or Palo Alto, from Boston to Beijing, or Dallas to Delhi," said Interim President Farnam Jahanian. "CMU is proud to welcome you here to discover and develop your passions."
This fall, Carnegie Mellon will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the merger of Carnegie Institute of Technology and the Mellon Institute of Research. The golden anniversary theme is "For the Founders," an homage to Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon, who created the two entities before they were joined.
"At CMU, we are all founders — today and into the future," Jahanian said. "Throughout your CMU career — throughout your life — be audacious enough to dare to question what is. Courageous enough to imagine what could be. And tenacious enough to make it happen."
Jahanian and other speakers said with the arrival of new students to campus and the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, now is a time to reaffirm that diversity and inclusion have a singular place among Carnegie Mellon's values.
"Violent acts are not protected by the First Amendment. This raw hatred is antithetical to our values. We condemn this evil, we reject bigotry in all forms and it has no place in our society," Jahanian said. "There is no doubt that a diverse and inclusive community is a foundation for excellence in learning in research in creativity and in our human development. Our commitment to inclusion Is a core value. It stands at the center of our mission at CMU."
Gina Casalegno, vice president for Student Affairs and dean of Students, said the university places great emphasis on providing a supportive environment for students, faculty, staff and alumni.
"We are indeed committed to each and every one of you — in and out of the classroom," Casalegno said. "What makes me proud to be your dean of students is the way we as a university community position you at the center of that learning and development process."
President of the Graduate Student Assembly Travis Carless told students to that Carnegie Mellon believes in their abilities.
Casalegno said there are many opportunities to learn what it means to be a global citizen through engaging with peers.
"Consider the opportunities to shape your own world view, to challenge your assumptions and perspectives, to value the viewpoints of others, even when you disagree," she said.
Travis Carless, president of the Graduate Student Assembly and a doctoral candidate in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, told the new students that CMU believes in their abilities and is there to help them.
"As a community, that is what we do," he said. "Don't be afraid to ask help from your colleagues, and don't be afraid to ask a colleague if they are in need of assistance."
Carless suggested they do more than just study at CMU so that once they graduate, they can look back at their entire CMU experience.
"You will not only remember what you learned here, but you will remember lifelong friends who helped you build the community," he said.