Stanford president urges new students to explore, connect and contribute

Marc Tessier-Lavigne speaking at Stanford 128th Opening Convocation Ceremony.

At the 128th Opening Convocation Ceremony on Thursday, Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne encouraged new undergraduate students to “look beyond what you already know and seek a breadth of experiences” at the university.

“No matter what field you plan to go into, employers want to hire graduates who are trained to think and to see the world for all of its complexity and nuance,” he said, speaking during the ceremony, which was held in the Main Quad.

“The world is changing rapidly. The best jobs of tomorrow may not even exist today. So, explore. By actively exploring new experiences and remaining open to changing your plans, you will set yourself up to succeed not only here at Stanford, but in the years that follow.”

Tessier-Lavigne also advised new students to seek connections – by nurturing friendships with peers and establishing relationships with faculty and mentors.

“There may be moments where you feel discouraged in the search for your purpose,” he said. “That is when you will need to draw on the connections you have made with others. In those moments, I encourage you to seek guidance and support from peers, resident assistants, professors, coaches or staff from the Office for Religious Life or Student Affairs. You are not alone. There will always be help and support for you here.”

Finally, Tessier-Lavigne urged students “to go out into the world and find your own way to contribute,” noting that the university was established with the goal of educating students and benefiting the world.

“You will find many opportunities at Stanford to put these ideals into practice,” he said. “Through the Cardinal Service program, you can address community needs while pursuing your academic interests and developing your leadership skills.”

Tessier-Lavigne was one of several speakers who welcomed new students and their families and friends to campus during the ceremony, which inaugurates the academic year.

The event also featured senior Jasmin Kamruddin; Richard Shaw, dean of admission and financial aid; and Harry Elam, vice provost for undergraduate education.

See the Welcome to the Farm slideshow of move-in day and read more about Convocation on the Stanford Report news site.