哈佛大学校长寄语新生:在最坏的时代中,我们相信校园的力量

摘要: 哈佛大学校长德鲁·福斯特(Drew Faust)向2021届新生致辞。她认为大学教育的意义在于对真理的追求

09-08 04:41 首页 出国goingabroad


哈佛大学校长德鲁·福斯特(Drew Faust)向2021届新生致辞。她认为大学教育的意义在于对真理的追求,保持多样性是追求真理的重要前提。


致2021届哈佛新生:


欢迎你们,2021届的同学们。我很高兴曾在新生参观日见过你们中的很多人,我也很欣喜你们这1702人选择在哈佛度过未来的四年大学时光。你们就是哈佛的现在和未来。


此时此刻,你们掀开了人生新篇章。这不仅对你们的人生意义重大,对国家和世界也至关重要。最近几周,我们听闻了全球核战的威胁,我们看到了极端天气的恐怖模样。 西班牙、芬兰、比利时和阿富汗的恐怖主义正在蔓延,美国大学城里的仇恨色彩、种族主义、反犹太主义和暴力事件同样让人不寒而栗。在这样一个时刻,大学教育应该是什么?大学教育意味着什么?大学本身到底是什么?在这样一个充满挑战和不安的时刻,我们如何认识大学的责任,也就是我们此刻肩负的责任?


首先,大学是关于知识和对真理的追求。


我们相信真理,也相信人类不懈追求真理的力量。我们坚信教育和学习是人类进步的动力和民主政府的基石。哈佛作为一所研究型大学,意味着它的教员们正致力于在各个广泛的领域里不断拓展知识的边界。而当你开始学习之时,我们邀请你成为在教室、实验室、图书馆和博物馆的广阔天地里踏上探索之旅的一员。


像去年40%左右的毕业生那样,你最终会完成一份毕业论文。论文主题可能是你感兴趣的一个项目,你独立研究的一个问题,又或者你会花一个夏天成为本科生研究组的一员,与其他学生研究员一起待在校园,和研究教师密切合作,探索各领域的新知识——从工程科学到社会科学,从市场组织到社区参与,从全球健康到人文艺术。


我们相信,追求真理的过程需要经过持续不断的测试和评估,经过无数次地论证、挑战和辩论。我们从不盛气凌人,相信一切万无一失。


真理既是渴望也是灵感。我们知道知识的探索永无止境,所以我们必须拥抱新想法和新观点,尝试新可能,即使我们偶尔可能犯错。这要求我们所有人具备勇气、慷慨和谦逊的品质,愿意参与到伟大的辩论中去。


作为知识分子群体,我们应该开放地吸纳别人的想法,有理有据地改变自己的观点。但我们希望在你们每个人身上不仅仅培养这些重要的智力能力,同时还有其他至关重要的人类潜能,如判断力,评估力,以及在新的事实面前,虚心学习和自我成长的能力。


正是在这个一年一度的欢迎新生大会上,前艺术与科学学院院长,已故的杰里米·诺尔斯,形容他所认为的高等教育的最重要目标就是,让毕业生学会明辨是非。你在不断地挑战和被挑战中学到了这种能力,在面对各种分歧和异议中找到自己的方向。


这让我想到了我今天要强调的大学的第二个基本特征。



在接下来的四年里,你将会遇到的许多最重要的想法,都不会来自教授、实验室、书本或在线任务。它们将来自现在坐在你旁边的人。你提出的许多问题,你学会回避的困难,你接受的新观点,都将源于你和他人的互动。这就是为什么你的班级有必要代表最广泛的背景,经验和兴趣,覆盖最广泛的地理来源、社会环境、民族、种族、宗教、性别认同、性取向和政治立场。


在2017年,我们有可能通过在线教育,积累足够的知识,通过足够的考试,以获得大学学位。但为什么我们要求你们所有人离开自己以往的生活圈,随着满载行李的车来到麻萨诸塞州,与热泪盈眶的家人道别——我们为什么要这么做?


我们这样做是因为我们相信校园的力量,那是一种必不可少的教育力量。这个校园必须好好组建,才不会只简单地向你展示已知的东西,或是那些生活经历与观点和你一样的人。正是它的多样性、它的陌生元素、它的不同之处,使你在哈佛的经历非同凡响,我相信终有一天你会发现。


我们很高兴地欢迎你们,2021届的同学们,因为你们自己就是伟大的教育家,注定会互相引导。当然,同时也帮助我们老师,因为你们的多样性所带来的缤纷色彩。当招生办公室决定录取你时,他们认为学校需要你的声音——你在这个百家争鸣之地所贡献的一种声音。所以不要保持沉默。(请不要在网上虚度你的光阴,就像你不存在于现实中!)融入到其他人之中。


尽量多地发言,这样别人才能向你学习。尽可能地多听,这样你就能从他们身上学习。不要害怕犯错的风险。不要害怕承认你的错误。这是学习和成长的最佳途径。同时也慷慨地倾听他人,这样他们也会冒和你一样的险。将你的同学圈作为你在哈佛最大的礼物和机会。帮助我们在哈佛建立一个因多样而更加灿烂而不是分化的典范。


现在,让我简要地介绍一下我刚才提到的两个当前问题。在接下来的一年里,你将会听到很多关于我所描述的对多样性的承诺,因为它已经在广为人知的诉讼案中受到了直接的挑战。


正是这个申请流程,才导致了你的选择,并创造了现在这群了不起的人,我们很高兴能欢迎你们。我们也将继续坚定地捍卫我们的招生流程和秉承多样性的重要性。这是我们教育理念的基础,也给学生提供难得的机会,去超越所熟悉的事物,向新的理解和新的可能性敞开大门。


你也很可能会听到很多关于哈佛终极俱乐部、兄弟会和女生联谊会的消息,以及一项在你们班级即将生效的政策。事实上,已经有人在新生参观日后的问答环节里,问 了我这个问题,所以我知道你们中有很多人也在思考这个问题。这项新政策也同样是出自我们提供教育体验的承诺,以证明每个学生在哈佛的重要地位,并鼓励学生向不一样的同学学习。


在哈佛的四年里,我们希望你能超越你之前的自己。我们希望你去探索那些你所忽略的领域,并培养在多种不同的环境中成长的能力,这样你很可能在未来的岁月中发现新的自己。我们的这些计划使住宿区的生活学习环境充满朝气与活力。在3月的时候,将会随机将所有人安排到“三年生活学习社区”。这些计划也明确表示,那些歧视性、排他性、压倒性的团体组织与我们的教育理念和教育目标是背道而驰的。


在这个重要时刻,你加入了哈佛,为了我们的国家和我们的大学。现在,你已经成为哈佛大学这场将近400年的实验的一个重要组成部分。我们必须确保它继续致力于对真理的严格而理性的追求。我们必须确保这个校园的每一个成员的才能都受到充分的欢迎和完全的发挥。


让我们每个人都尽自己的力量,让哈佛成为相互尊重的地方,让我们所有人都成为最好的自己。面对全国各地不断涌现的仇恨和暴力事件,我们需要以一种不同的方式团结在一起。在破裂和分化的时代,让我们努力成为团结的典范。我们从来没有像此刻一样期待这所大学的未来。


欢迎来到哈佛!


附英文原文:

Welcome, Class of 2021. I was pleased to meet many of you at Visitas, and I am delighted that 1,702 of you have decided that this is where you would like to spend your next four years. We greet you as the present and the future of Harvard.


You are embarking on this new chapter at a time that is not just consequential for your own lives, but also critical for the country and the world. In recent weeks we have heard threats of global nuclear war, we’ve seen frightening examples of extreme weather, devastating acts of terrorism in Spain, Finland, Belgium, and Afghanistan, and chilling instances of hatred, racism, anti-Semitism, and violence in an American college town not so different from this one. What should a university education be at such a moment and what should it mean? And what indeed is a university? How do we think about its responsibilities — our responsibilities — at such a challenging and unsettled time in our country and in the world?


First, universities are about knowledge and the pursuit of truth. We believe in facts and in the power of the human mind to ascertain them. We are committed to education and learning as vehicles for human betterment and as essential foundations for democratic government. Harvard is a research university, which means that its faculty is engaged in pushing the boundaries of knowledge in their wide-ranging fields of endeavor. And as you learn, you are invited to be part of this adventure of discovery — in and beyond classrooms, laboratories, libraries, and museums. You may eventually write a senior thesis — about 40 percent of last year’s graduates did — a project in which you pursue an interest, a problem of your own independent research — or perhaps you will spend a summer as part of our undergraduate research village, living on campus together with other student researchers while you work closely with faculty in pursuit of new knowledge in fields of science and engineering, or social sciences, or markets and organizations, community engagement, global health, or humanities and arts.


We believe that the pursuit of truth requires a continuing process of testing and reassessment, of argument, and challenge and debate. We are never so complacent as to believe we have unerringly attained it. Veritas is both aspiration and inspiration. We recognize there is always more to know, so we must be open to new ideas and new perspectives, to the possibility — even the probability — of being wrong. This requires all of us to work with courage and generosity and humility — to be willing to engage in the great debate that is an intellectual community, open to others’ ideas and willing to change our views based on reason and evidence. But these are not just important intellectual skills that we hope to nurture in each of you. These are critical human capacities as well — the ability to make judgments, to evaluate facts, and the willingness to be open to learning and growth as new truths unfold.


It was on this annual occasion of welcoming the incoming College class that a former dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the late Jeremy Knowles, described what he saw as the most important goal of higher education: it was, he said, to ensure that graduates can recognize when “someone is talking rot.” You learn this through challenging and being challenged, through being confronted by disagreement and difference and amidst it all finding your way.


Which brings me to the second essential characteristic of universities that I want to emphasize to you today. Many of the most important ideas you will encounter over the next four years will not come from a professor or a lab or a book or an online assignment. They will come from those sitting next to you right now. Many of the questions you come to ask, the challenges you learn to parry, the new perspectives you come to embrace will be the result of your interactions with one another. This is why it is imperative that your class collectively represent the widest possible range of backgrounds, and experiences, and interests, the broadest diversity of geographic origins, socioeconomic circumstances, ethnicity, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, political perspective. It is possible, in 2017, to accumulate enough information and pass enough tests through online learning to get a college degree. But we have asked all of you to uproot your lives, move to Massachusetts with carloads filled with paraphernalia and teary-eyed families forced to bid you good-bye. Why do we do this? We do it because we believe in the power of community as an essential educational force. But that community must be constituted so that it does not simply present you with what you already know or with people whose life experiences and outlooks are just like yours. It is its diversity, its elements of unfamiliarity, its elements of difference that render Harvard College the extraordinary experience that I know you will find it to be. We are excited to welcome you, Class of 2021, because you are in yourselves a great educational machine — destined to teach one another — and, of course, teach us as well — because of the variety of who you are and what you bring. When the admissions office decided on you, it was because they wanted your voice, your contribution as part of this creative cacophony. So don’t be silent. (And please don’t live your life online as if you weren’t here at all!) Engage with one another. Talk a lot so others can learn from you. Listen even more so that you can learn from them. Don’t be afraid to take the risk of being wrong. Don’t be afraid to admit you are wrong. It is the best way to learn and grow. And listen generously to others so that they may take risks too. Use the community of your fellow students as one of the greatest gifts and opportunities of your time here. Help us to build at Harvard a model of how people can be enriched rather than divided by their differences.


Now, let me briefly address two current issues that grow out of the principles I just articulated. In the year ahead, you are going to hear a great deal about the commitment to diversity I just described because it is being directly challenged in what has already become a highly publicized lawsuit. At issue is the very admissions process that resulted in your selection and in the creation of this remarkable variety of individuals that we are so pleased to welcome as the Class of 2021. We will continue to fervently defend our admissions processes and the importance of diversity as essential to our educational philosophy and as a critical opportunity for students to reach beyond the familiar and to open themselves to new understandings and new possibilities.


You are also likely to hear a lot this fall about final clubs, fraternities, and sororities at Harvard, and about a policy designed to take effect for the first time for your class. One of you, in fact, asked me a question about this in the Q&A after my talk at Visitas, so I know a number of you have been thinking about this issue. This new policy is motivated by the same commitment to providing an educational experience that affirms the importance of every student at Harvard and urges students to learn from classmates unlike themselves. During your four years here, we want you to stretch beyond who you were when you arrived last week; we want you to explore what you have taken for granted and to develop the ability to thrive in the kind of diverse and varied environments in which you are likely to find yourselves in the years to come. Those purposes animate the living-learning environment of the House system, which, come March, will randomly assort all of you into three-year living-learning communities. Those purposes also make clear that the powerful and expanding influence of discriminatory, exclusionary, overwhelmingly homogeneous organizations is antithetical to our values and educational goals.


You arrive at Harvard at a critical time — for our country and for our University. You are now an essential part of the almost 400-year-old experiment that is Harvard. It is up to us to ensure that it continues to be dedicated to the rigorous and reasoned pursuit of truth. And it is up to us to ensure that the talents of every member of this community are fully welcomed and engaged in that work. Let us each do our part to make Harvard the place of mutual respect that will enable all of us to be our best selves. In face of proliferating incidents of hatred and violence across the country, we need to insist on a different way of being together. Let us strive to be a model of unity at a time of fracture and divisiveness. We have never needed the promise of this University more. Welcome to Harvard.




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