An open letter from the Provost


As students at the University of Arizona, you will be starting the 1995-96 academic year at one of the most interesting periods of history.

A very large global war the cold war is over. In its place the time-honored practice of religious and ethnic hatred has reemerged.

A "decade of greed" is past, and in its place, and perhaps because of it, is a period of global economic decline. The advances of the industrial revolution and the technical era are now believed by many to have contributed to the world's many problems. Education is an important element in reversing these trends, and education that leads not only to marketable skills, but to an understanding of the requirements for living in a democratic and multicultural society.

As you attempt to find that perfect major and those perfect career goals, I urge that you not neglect the moral and ethical side of your experiences. You should not leave out humility, fidelity, justice, patience, courage, passion and joy.

Albert Einstein observed that the significant problems that face society cannot be solved by the same thinking that created the problems. And here, perhaps, lies the salvation of this world: your generation must be better than mine, it must think differently, reach higher, stay longer and demand more.

The University of Arizona is a student-centered research university. Research universities have received their share of hits over the past five years. Research and teaching have been recently juxtaposed as if in mortal combat. Research is about discovery, a process that engages both faculty and student, and a world of discovering new knowledge, about the natural world, about the applications of technology and about the human family.

Imagine a world where discovery ceased. Imagine physics without Newton, Faraday, the Curies or Einstein. Imagine biology without Pasteur, Darwin or Watson and Crick. Imagine art without the renaissance or the impressionists.

Discovery must go on, and at the University of Arizona, our undergraduates and graduates alike, are involved in this discovery.

There is a new vision of the educational experience at the University or Arizona. There is a new emphasis on preparing lifelong learners with more communication skills, the ability to think critically and the ability to analyze.

Michelangelo was once asked how he was able to carve such powerful sculptures out of large chucks of stone. His response was that the figure was always in the stone. His job was to let it out.

The person you will become is already there. The University of Arizona experience can be the sculptor that lets that person out.

Paul Sypherd


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