President Spectar's Address to the Freshman Class of 2011: Ready for the Real World
Welcome and congratulations on becoming a member of our distinctive college community. You are joining a stimulating and serious community of learners who, like you, have opted for higher learning as the best preparation for personal and professional readiness for the real world.
A UPJ experience is many things, some of which you simply have to discover for yourself as you explore the full range of possibilities. While your college experience will flow, flower and flourish in many unexpected ways, some things about the UPJ experience are as certain as the serene beauty of our unusually picturesque campus. By the time you graduate, you will have participated in a distinctive learning experience that blends traditional arts and sciences education with rigorous professional programs and options; you will have enhanced your classroom experience with enriching co-curricular out-of-class activities. If you avail yourself of the rich in-class and out-of-class learning opportunities at UPJ and if you apply yourself diligently and purposefully, you will graduate with the knowledge, skills, dispositions and attributes of an educated person in an emerging global society; you will be Ready for the Real World!
I am certain that as a member of the class of 2011, and a budding member of this community of scholars, you will have an opportunity to write the next chapter of the history (intellectual and otherwise) of this fine institution. Like your predecessors who have called UPJ home since 1927, this is your time to immerse yourself in the joys, rigors (and occasional frustrations) of a college education. This is your time to engage in inquiry, analysis, discourse, synthesis, writing, problem-solving and varying forms of scholarship, creative activity and research. Working with our talented and dedicated faculty you will have opportunities to develop a broad intellectual foundation in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, as well as concentrated study in your major disciplinary or interdisciplinary areas. Along the way, you will pick up - and hone - the time-tested habits of scholars including constant curiosity, spirited skepticism and an unquenchable passion for life-long learning. You will be Ready for the Real World.
To be sure, UPJ is never all theory without practice or application; nor will it be all work and no play, or, for that matter, all head and no heart! In fact, the formal classroom is but one aspect of the total experience. Your educational journey is greatly enhanced by the availability of multiple opportunities for personal development, including study abroad, internships, civic engagement, volunteering, athletics and leadership activities in a plethora of student associations. These experiences, many of them in teams or groups, will contribute, not just to the flowering of your individuality, but, hopefully, to the blossoming of an ethos of care for community. In effect, you will have many opportunities to connect your classroom instruction with the exciting, challenging, gritty and sometimes disquieting realities of the world beyond campus. You will be Ready for the Real World.
Fundamentally, the UPJ approach to a professionally-complementary traditional arts and sciences education will prepare you for the real world - if you participate actively and enthusiastically; if you seek out, engage and listen to your professors; if you follow the guidance of our dedicated staff; if you take full advantage of the richness of curricular and extra-curricular offerings; and if you apply yourself purposefully and consistently with utmost motivation. When you graduate from UPJ, you will be joining 17,000 alums who are transforming the world; you will be on a better trajectory for a productive career, meaningful individual fulfillment and a rewarding life. As a UPJ alum, you will be an informed, engaged and public-spirited citizen, a community builder, transforming our world and fulfilling your highest potential. You will be Ready for the Real World.
We have very high expectations for you and your future success. There is a lot riding on you: the sacrifice of your relatives and loved ones who have given up much so you can have this opportunity; the high expectations of our faculty and staff whose professional raison d'etre is your success; the aspirations of a community, a nation and a world that is looking to its youth, yearning for new leaders. The great Ben Franklin, responding to a question from a citizen about the type of government our Founding Parents had created stated: A Republic, if you can keep it. As young men and young women - citizens - with an intricate web of rights and privileges, you have an obligation to sustain this great Republic going forward. Notice I called you young men and young women; not kids. I am counting on you; the future of our emerging global society depends on you. I hope you make the most of this opportunity; I hope you seize the moment and aim high. If you do, you will leave this special place Ready for the Real World.
We are delighted that you have chosen UPJ and that UPJ chose you! Thank you for selecting this fine institution. You have indeed chosen very wisely. Make the most of your time and your moment. And have fun. Yes, FUN. As serious a task as you have ahead of you, it is just as important to play, to sing, to dance, to express all the colorful dimensions of your individuality.... I hope you participate in the myriad of social and cultural activities, athletics, intramurals and other quality entertainment experiences provided on campus. I look forward to seeing you at various events around campus. At the same time, I urge you to proceed wisely; to reflect on your conduct; be the protagonist in your life's drama in purposeful and positive ways. Finally, just as I welcome you with Mountain Cat Pride today, I eagerly look forward to watching you graduate, robed in the majestic and time-honored garb of Academe, festooned in our magnificent Blue and Gold, brimming with optimism, and So Ready for the Real World!