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Dear Bentley Community,
It’s my honor to welcome all of you to the start of a new academic year at Bentley University—a day that I know we have all been looking forward to. For me and my wife, Phyllis, today is special because it marks the beginning of the official start of our first academic year as members of this extraordinary community. For me, a kid from Detroit, becoming president of Bentley University represents the culmination of a journey that has exceeded my wildest expectations. Since arriving on campus in June, I’ve been counting down the days to this moment when we could all come together as one community.
Fall on a college campus brings with it an unparalleled energy. For some of you, this may be your first time on a campus. Others of you may be well accustomed to the feeling that comes with a new year and the start of classes. Wherever you are in your academic or professional journey, I’m looking forward to sharing with you that unique excitement of students and faculty learning together in-person once again, colleagues collaborating in offices and conference rooms, and friends sharing big ideas over a sandwich on the quad. It’s so great we can have you here at Bentley.
It is a privilege that we are here together despite the many challenges the past 19 months have thrown our way. The global COVID-19 pandemic is the most cataclysmic crisis of our lifetime. For many, it has been a period of sorrow and uncertainty. Our lives have all been forever changed by the pandemic. Despite these and many other challenges, watching this community come together is deeply affirming for me and is one reason that I believe tomorrow’s world can be better than today’s.
What gives me hope is that during these times of stress and uncertainty, the strength and resiliency of communities like ours are revealed. And from what I’ve seen here, this has been especially true—but this doesn’t happen by accident. It requires shared values and respect for one another. So this year, let us work together to shape our community into one that reflects the world we aspire to create. Let us commit to supporting one another as we adapt to what will surely be an unpredictable year. And as we create and manage through our “new normal,” let us remain true to our belief in the power of a broad and inclusive community, one that celebrates our differences and that enables us to learn from our mistakes.
We’ve come a long way, but we know this year won’t be easy. Our faculty and staff have worked hard to prepare for this semester. Our students have steadfastly prepared to learn and engage. It is my commitment to all of you that in this time of uncertainty, your health and safety will remain our top priority. That means we will all need to be flexible and able to adjust to changing health guidelines to ensure that we do what is best for our community. Your ability to successfully adapt to uncertain times will serve you well here at Bentley and beyond. That is no easy lesson to learn, but you, our students, faculty and staff, have already shown that you are up to the task.
President Chrite welcomes new students at 2021 convocation
Regardless of how the pandemic will shape our fall experience, our obligations remain the same. Our world-class faculty and dedicated staff will be committed to ensuring that our students develop the skills, abilities and experiences necessary to become leaders in the evolving global landscape. And whether you’re a first-year or transfer student eager to begin charting your path at Bentley, a returning student excited to strengthen relationships with peers and professors outside of a Zoom screen, or a faculty or staff member eager to teach and work alongside our students again, we are so excited to have you at Bentley, and we are better by you being here.
On a personal note, please know that I am honored to be your president and to join this incredible community at this pivotal moment in time. I believe in the power of a Bentley education, and I have already seen the power of this community. I am looking forward to meeting many of you as I walk around our campus. If you see me, please don’t hesitate to stop and say hello. Every interaction is a reminder of how special this community is, and I look forward to seeing what we accomplish together this fall.
Take care of yourselves and one another. Let’s get to work.
E. LaBrent Chrite