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Leading Notre Dame in new directions

| Friday, August 22, 2014

For 171 consecutive years, the University of Notre Dame has opened its doors to new students.  Like generations who came before, you are embarking on a journey where you will have an opportunity to advance your knowledge, develop your leadership skills, deepen your faith, learn from others, and form lifelong friendships.  Whether you are a first-year undergraduate, transfer, professional or graduate student, we are delighted that you have chosen to join our community; and I extend a warm welcome to you as you begin this formative time in your life.   

I hope that Notre Dame challenges you in many ways. Your professors, your rector, your advisors and your classmates will encourage you to stretch yourself intellectually and develop on spiritual and personal levels. Take these opportunities to find a passion that matches your talents and allows you to lead a purposeful life. Dare to be different, yet be respectful and welcoming to all. Have a wonderful time, without engaging in behavior that would place you or others at risk. Expect much of yourself, care for those in the community around you and reach out for support when needed. Explore new things while cherishing the people and traditions that matter. Embrace Notre Dame’s distinctive Catholic mission and enrich your understanding of it through study and reflection. Contribute your own talents to improve the lives of others.   

Much of your development at the University can and should occur on your own. At the same time, know that the Division of Student Affairs is available to support you through our residential communities and a variety of student service departments. Rectors and members of our hall staffs across 29 undergraduate halls and two graduate and family residences are dedicated to building Christian communities that are rooted in the Holy Cross tradition. The professionals who serve in Campus Ministry, the Career Center, the Center for Student Health Promotion and Well-Being, the Office of Community Standards, the Office of Disability Services, the Gender Relations Center, Graduate Career Services, Graduate Student Life, Multicultural Student Programs and Services, RecSports, the Student Activities Office, the Office of Housing, the University Counseling Center, University Health Services and beyond are trained to provide specialized services and programming that will complement your development. All of us are eager to smooth and enhance the road that you will travel during your time at Notre Dame, and I encourage you to seek our help along the way.

I look forward to watching how your presence, energy and ideas renew and enhance our University. You will lead Notre Dame in new directions based on the paths that you pursue. May we all form a strong community and write the next chapter of this beloved institution together.

Best wishes and prayers for a successful year.

Erin Hoffman-Harding
vice president
Office of Student Affairs
Aug. 21

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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