September 5, 2017

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Welcome! I hope you all share my enthusiasm as we start a new academic year at the University of Delaware.

A university environment offers an excellent opportunity to engage in the grand challenges and great debates that define our times. We grow when we push ourselves beyond what has become comfortable or ordinary and see the world, and even our own existence, from different perspectives.

We are certainly fortunate to be at one of the nation’s great research universities. To be sure, our excellence and success are underpinned by the diversity of our students, faculty and staff. This inclusive environment strengthens our values, emboldens our potential and makes our Blue Hen family one I am proud to call my own. Diversity is the very fabric that has defined our nation’s greatness, but sadly, too many Americans have seemingly lost the ability to consider and respect divergent views.

In this time of political and social tumult, I am reminded of one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most quoted lines: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” I would offer that this is not only a test of intelligence, but also a measure of character. My sincere hope is that here at UD, we all keep our minds open to hear — and respect — the thoughts and opinions of others, whether or not they align with our own.

However, ideologies driven by fear, hatred and ignorance have no currency in the marketplace of ideas. We reject racism, bigotry, and racial and ethnic supremacy, not only because they are offensive, but because they promote doctrine based on false premises and untruths.

We should never fear learning what the “other side” is thinking and what has led them to their opinions. We all have the capacity — and, indeed, the responsibility — to entertain diverse opinions and thoughts. And then, with respect, reason and an open mind, we can participate in earnest and substantive dialogue on various issues. This is what defines our character. It is how we learn and engage, and it is one of the many advantages of being part of our diverse campus community.

To this end, UD will offer dynamic programming this fall featuring a variety of compelling topics and interesting speakers. I encourage you to participate; more information can be found on the University website and/or UDaily.

Thank you for your continued commitment to excellence and your support of our inclusive University community.

With all best wishes for a terrific academic year,

signature of Provost Domenico Grasso

Domenico Grasso

University of Delaware   •   Newark, DE 19716   •   USA  •   (302) 831-2260   •