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President Hanlon welcomes members of the Dartmouth community to the start of a new academic year.
To the Dartmouth community,
What a thrill it is to be starting fall term with the majority of you back on campus and residential learning fully underway. It's been a long-awaited return for all of us and I'm so grateful to have spent the past few weeks reconnecting with colleagues, welcoming new and returning students, and reengaging with so many of you in person. I trust that each of you feels the same way.
While the start of a new academic year is always an exciting time on campus, the significance of our reuniting as a community to teach and learn together in Hanover has taken on entirely new meaning this year. The energy on campus is palpable.
Even still, we mustn't forget that COVID remains with us, adding an element of uncertainty to the term and year ahead. As we move through it together, our primary objective will be to keep our campus as open as possible and maintain as much of the student experience as we can while minimizing the risk that anyone – and especially those who cannot be vaccinated – falls seriously ill from COVID.
This challenge will require flexibility, creativity and partnership on the part of all of us. At no time in recent history has the balance between our emotional and physical well-being been so difficult or so fragile, and I assure you that every decision to be made will be carefully weighed in an effort to maintain that balance. Over the past year and a half, we have put in place a much more robust structure for consulting with you for ideas before altering our COVID-related policies – whether it's through the new Student Liaison Committee, or existing faculty and staff committees – and we will continue to do so in the year ahead.
We must also do our best to become comfortable with acknowledging when we are struggling and seeking support when we need it. Without a doubt, these last 18 months have affected each of us differently – some more deeply than others. As we process and heal from all we've experienced, including all we've sacrificed and lost, please familiarize yourselves with the expanded counseling and wellness resources available to you, and be vigilant in looking out for those around you. I know that we will be there to help each other through challenging times with empathy, compassion, support and that unwavering commitment to one another.
In this year of great promise, I hope that each of you will embrace the full Dartmouth experience – the one we've pined for these last 18 months and the reason that all of us chose to work and study here.
I wish you all a great fall term filled with that unmistakable combination of academic, athletic, artistic, and social enrichment that makes Dartmouth so special. And on behalf of the entire Dartmouth leadership team, welcome home.
Philip J. Hanlon '77