New Student Convocation 2023

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Thanks so much for your introduction Meera.

I’m grateful for your leadership of Central Student Government, and I’m looking forward to working with you and your colleagues in the upcoming year.

I also appreciate the service and leadership of those who have spoken – Vice President Harmon, Vice President for Enrollment Management Brumfield, Chief Diversity Officer Chavous and Provost McCauley.

Each of you is so integral to who we are – and all that we aspire to be – as a university.

In addition, I’d like to thank all of those from the Student Life team for the incredible work they did to make welcome week and move-in as seamless as possible … and to resolve the challenges that did come up. They include:

  • The members of the Housing ResStaff
  • The Office of New Student Programs
  • The Center for Campus Involvement
  • And the hundreds of staff volunteers from all across campus.

Thank you for all that you’ve done, and all that you continue to do, for our new students.

Finally and most importantly, I’d like to welcome all of you – our incoming and transfer students – welcome home to Michigan!

We’re so pleased you’re here.

There’s such an energy, an excitement, an anticipation in the air.

We’re so eager to see what that you will do – all that you’ll learn, all that you’ll achieve, the challenges you’ll overcome.

You won’t do it alone.

You will be taught, tested and challenged by the members of our world-class faculty – acclaimed scholars, researchers and leaders.

You will be joined by your peers: The new friends sitting next to you along with all of those you’ll engage in the classroom and laboratory, on the athletic field and the stage. Each of them will have something to teach you … for today they are your fellow Wolverines.

And you will be walking in the footsteps of our incredible alumni: Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners, Hall of Fame athletes and Moon walkers, Broadway producers and playwrights, CEOs and entrepreneurs, public servants and one U.S. President … so far.

I believe you can achieve even more.

And I’m confident you will … for our world needs you.

We need your energy, your excellence, your engagement.

We need you whether it’s encouraging a friend, lifting a classmate or cheering our teams on to victory. We need you to be the best we can aspire to as Wolverines.

Along the way you will face challenges. There could be hard days or unexpected difficulties. There may be sleepless nights, or long walks in the rain.

Those challenges are the forge where your character is formed.

Ultimately, though it will take time to see, those challenges are opportunities to overcome, to grow, to become the person you aspire to be.

So persist. Be confident you can break through.

And know that we are walking with you … that your wellness is our first priority … and that our utmost desire is for you to learn and grow and thrive.

Today you are Wolverines.

And so, at this outset of your U-M career, I urge you to dream bigger, bolder dreams … and then study and work and persevere to make them realities.

That’s why you’ve come to the University of Michigan.

More than 200 years ago, this university began with a dream – a single building in Detroit in what was then the Territory of Michigan, a school that was dedicated to public education.

A few decades later, after we moved to Ann Arbor, President Henry Tappan had the vision of creating here at U-M first true American research university. That launched the construction of the Detroit Observatory, which you can see on our campus today.

Subsequent U-M presidents have followed with dreams and decisive action, works of construction, renewal and reimagination.

They shaped our modern campus and even more, they shaped the ethos of this university – its dedication to leadership and excellence, to elevating society by lifting the distinct, ineffable potential of each individual, no matter their race, color or creed.

Today we are in another effort of imagination and revitalization called Vision 2034. Today we are still dreaming … still aspiring … still achieving. And today we are so pleased you have joined us, as the leaders and best!

So again welcome home to Michigan … and Go Blue!

As we prepare to conclude, I ask all of you to stay in your seats until the platform party leaves the stage, and then to join us on the football field for your class photo.

Now it is my pleasure to welcome the U-M Fanfare Band, to lead us in The Victors!