I like the sound of that, and I believe that.
Everyone from Toyota to Dr. Seuss has encouraged us to go places, and that’s good advice. We don’t want to stagnate and stay in our usual comfort zones. We need to get out, make some discoveries, meet people, learn something, and – on occasion – start fresh. You can do all of those things here. That’s why you’re going to hear us talking a lot, over the next few months, about UMKC as a place for people who are going places.
New places offer excitement and challenges, and that’s what UMKC offers to newcomers and old friends alike. Even for those of us who are returning to UMKC, it still will be a new place. We’ll see new faces in our departments, our classrooms, our residence halls.
So many of our fall rituals are the kinds of things that engender good, positive feelings. We welcome students at Convocation – complete with Provost Hackett’s legendary list for success. We celebrate our history and our ties to the community during Founders Week. We congratulate our faculty who have achieved promotion and tenure. We all promise to eat better and get more exercise. And our newly tobacco-free campus (as of Aug. 1) offers a healthier environment for all.
In the fall, everything conspires to fill us with a sense of promise – the beautiful weather, the quiet summer campus giving way to capacity crowds, people everywhere, going to concerts and sports events. This is the place where our scholars, musicians and athletes take the big city by storm; where students from Blue Springs and Baldwin City meet new friends from Bangalore and Beijing; where a faculty researcher finds someone else approaching the same question from a different angle.
Please, make this a year when you go places. This may be the year you attend a UMKC Theatre production or try the coffee shop in the Student Union. You may promise yourself to attend more extracurricular programs and find out what the draw is that brings the community to campus at all times of the day and night. Take UMKC by storm, and see what’s out there. (Our online calendar offers a wealth of opportunities, from lectures to athletics to free performances by Conservatory faculty and students.)
If ever we need our spirits lifted, fall usually does that for us. My wish is that you may feel a renewed sense of hope that this will be your best year ever.