Carnegie Mellon University
August 18, 2019

CMU President Encourages New Students To Explore & Dream Big

By Michael Henninger

Jason Maderer

As families prepared to say farewell to the members of the class of 2023+, Carnegie Mellon University President Farnam Jahanian greeted them and challenged the incoming students to venture outside their academic boundaries throughout their college experience.

"CMU is known for producing innovative thinking at the edges and intersections of traditional disciplines," said Jahanian during the annual President's Welcome on Sunday morning. "By embracing a multitude of opportunities, you create context for discovery and creativity beyond what you imagined was possible. And that is at the heart of the CMU experience."

The incoming class includes students from 43 states and 30 nations. Fifty percent of the class are women. Jahanian told students that diversity is the foundation for excellence in learning, research and human development.

"It doesn't matter if you are from New Jersey or New Delhi, CMU is proud to welcome you into our community." Jahanian said. "This is a campus that is unafraid of inclusivity. We are compelled and defined by it. And that will never change."

A photo of Farnam Jahanian posing with head orientation counselors
Conlon Novak, left, takes a photo with Farnam Jahanian and his fellow head orientation counselors.

Jahanian expressed his excitement for the future.

"I know you are all looking at the world with the same optimism, the same bold aspirations, the same desire to make a positive impact," Jahanian said. "And I am here to tell you — the education you will receive here at CMU will give you every opportunity you can imagine to achieve your dreams."

Gina Casalegno, vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, thanked the students, alumni and staff who run Orientation and welcomed the new class to CMU.

"You are here because we see in each of you the intellect, the passion necessary to thrive in your chosen fields," Casalegno said. "We also see in you that you have the leadership capacity and the commitment to your community to be the change makers we so desperately need in society to make a real impact."

A photo of Gina Casalegno
Gina Casalegno speaks at the President's Welcome.

Casalegno highlighted CMU's investments in health and wellness initiatives such as the state-of-the-art fitness facilities in the Cohon University Center and David A. Tepper Quadrangle, programming focused on mildfulness practices, and education on bystander intervention skills.

"There is a significant relationship between well-being and students' acadmic performance — and these invetments here at Carnegie Mellon are critical to supporting student success," Casalegno said.

Conlon Novak, a senior double majoring in information systems and human computer interaction, is one of seven head orientation counselors. He said the next week of activities will help the students learn what it means to be a part of the Carnegie Mellon community.

"I know I speak for the entire Orientation staff when I say how thrilled we are you are finally here with us on campus," Novak said. "I can't wait for you to learn more about this university that has done so much for me."

— Orientation 2019 —