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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Maintain your first-year enthusiasm

Published: April 1, 2011
Section: Editorials

Fred Lawrence has both exceeded and fulfilled the expectations from many in the Brandeis community over the past three months. He has managed to stay connected with both students on campus and friends of Brandeis across the country. The inaugural ceremonies yesterday reflected that spirit, of a president who understands what Brandeis is today and where it needs to go tomorrow.

Many past presidents have displayed similar enthusiasm in their early stages yet have lost sight of the fact that fundraising and public appearances are not all that their job entails.

Just as first-years often enter Brandeis, filled with excitement about the future, so do presidents. Some of those first-years learn how to transform their energy into a concrete vision for how they best can impact their campus community and the causes they choose to focus on. While other first-years eventually face burnout due to overextending themselves or lacking a strategic approach to their goals.

Succeeding for both Presidents and freshman requires a clear plan that includes prioritizing their values over the demands of those around them.

In Lawrence’s inaugural address on Thursday, he noted his personal goal’s as president. Lawrence said it meant promoting the purpose of a liberal arts education at Brandeis within a globalized world.

The International Business School has recently strengthened its identity with Dean Bruce Magid joining Governor Deval Patrick on a state trade mission to Britain and the U.K. As IBS hosts a Global Trade Summit next week, it will demonstrate the connections that faculty can draw from academic lessons into the demands of companies and governments facing the challenges of international trade.

While Lawrence has clearly chosen his cause, we hope that this next year will continue to strengthen his vision through a visible plan for the community.

We hope that Lawrence will fulfill his vision to extend Brandeis outreach and student recruitment throughout the world, and especially in countries with existing ties, including India, Israel and China. The effort to globalize Brandeis is one way that we can continue upholding our founders’ commitment to diversity.

We believe that President Lawrence has the ability to continue to hold onto his freshman like enthusiasm throughout his tenure as president while continuing to grow as a president with the university.