Volume 8 Issue 10 - May 22, 2009
Peter Salovey
Thinking in New Ways
Article Digest
Chi Wang
Electrospinning of Polyacrylonitrile Solutions at Elevated Temperatures
Jin-ding Huang
Pregnane X receptor polymorphism affects CYP3A4 induction via a ligand-dependent interaction with steroid receptor coactivator-1
Yueh-Nan Chen
Observation of Retardation Effect via Current Noise
Tong-Yee Lee
Skeleton Extraction by Mesh Contraction
Huan-Yao Lei
Induction of autophagy by Concanavalin A and its application in anti-tumor therapy
News Release
Minister Francisco H.L. Ou from the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives a lecture at National Cheng Kung University
Iconic Astronomer Prof. Geoffrey Marcy Will Give a Talk at National Cheng Kung University
Dr. Ted Scambos Gave an Inspirational Lecture in NCKU
Banyan Forum
Editorial Group
Thinking in New Ways
Peter Salovey

Dean of Yale College (Now the Provost of Yale University)

The following is the text of the address presented by Yale College Dean Peter Salovey to members of the Class of 2010 and their families on Sept. 2 in Woolsey Hall.

President Levin, Provost Hamilton, colleagues ... Members of the Class of 2010: Good morning and welcome. And to your families and guests: We are delighted you are here, although we apologize that some of you must watch these festivities via video feed in the Levinson Auditorium. But, there is good news: I look taller on television.

So, men and women of 2010: All of us know that this is a big moment for you, the start of a tremendous adventure, one that has been a part of the tradition of young people since the academies of Greece and Rome and the great libraries at Alexandria and Ephesus. As it happens, about two months ago, 40 Yale alumni, my wife, Marta, and I stood in front of the magnificent ruins of the ancient library of Ephesus, a Roman city unearthed near Izmir, Turkey, gazing at what was essentially the Sterling Memorial Library of the second century. The library of Ephesus housed more than 12,000 scrolls; our libraries contain about 12 million books and journals. But to be frank, it is our library on Cross Campus -- I'm sure you have seen it -- rather than Ephesus that right now looks more like the site of an historical excavation!

Your experience here, linked to this past, may change who you are, as similar experiences have changed the lives of students for thousands of years. And it all begins for you right here, right now. Over the next four years, we will come to know you, not just you in general, but you in particular, from Aaron (all five of them), Abby, and Abra to Zharng, Zoe, and Zoelle. We will, like your families up in the balcony, and the families already missing you in homes around the world, come to know your faces, your voices, your talents, your humor, your quirks and eccentricities, your special geniuses. You will change our lives as we will change yours. This is the beginning of the building of a new and special family, one put together to foster the strength of this community for one primary reason -- so that you can develop yourselves to your greatest potential.

And now to welcome you properly this morning, I am going to ask a simple question and draw upon the discipline of psychology, my field of study, for answers. Here is the question: Is your college education made better by the fact that we seek to draw Yale students from the four corners of the earth and from all parts of this country? In the Class of 2010, for example, we have freshmen from all 50 states and 50 countries of the world. You are a group of students representing numerous different cultures, traditions, and accomplishments; you have had many different kinds of experiences in your lives.

It seems obvious that casting a wide net helps us to achieve our goal of providing an outstanding education to the very best students, regardless of family circumstances, from anywhere in the world, who can benefit the most from being here. If we use a broad net, we are more likely to catch some big fish. (I apologize if you are wondering if the dean just implied that you are a large-mouthed bass ... or something worse.) We want the world's best students at Yale, and we work very hard to convince you to come here. But why?

I believe -- and I suspect you will discover -- that the educational experience in the classroom, laboratory, and studio is enhanced by the presence of people who -- no matter who you are -- have had different life experiences than you, who do not share the same learning history and cultural experiences. It goes without saying that we all share a common humanity, we are all citizens of the earth, and there are many ways in which we are very much alike. But, there are also ways in which our family backgrounds, upbringings, and schooling have taught us to notice different things, to reason differently, and to solve problems in different ways. The glory of Yale is that at a critical moment in your lives you will be exposed to so many people with different histories who have grown up with varied ways of interpreting experience. From them you will learn by discussion, argument, and even osmosis how to approach a problem or task from multiple vantage points, argue various sides to an issue, and generate better solutions. Of course many of you have had some of this kind of experience before in your lives. The difference now is that you will be living so close together and in such an intense intellectual and extracurricular environment.

In your lives so far, I am sure you've encountered people with different thinking styles. Some of your friends are extremely verbal and analytic. Others are more visual and imaginative. My former Yale colleague, Robert Sternberg, now the dean at Tufts University, suggests that some individuals are executive thinkers (they like to follow guidelines developed by others); some are legislative thinkers (they generate ideas and do things their own way); and others are judicial thinkers (they enjoy evaluating ideas).1

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