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Issue No. 10—Winter/Spring 2015
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A Message from Dean Hutchinson

Dear Rice Parents and Families:

With Convocation and Commencement weekend still a fresh and inspiring memory, Matriculation of the entering class of 2015 is rapidly approaching.  This juncture provides an excellent opportunity for us to capture the experiences of our newest alumni and then to share their lessons with our new and continuing students. 

This Spring, President Leebron launched the Initiative for Students, an ambitious set of objectives to respond to the evolving needs and interests of our students.  We are creating programming in some areas and expanding programming in others to provide new and greater opportunities for students to develop and grow their experiences and skills, including leadership, professional development, civic engagement, and scholarly and creative work.  These are the opportunities that our graduating students told us are what they believed to have been the most important from their Rice years.  We agree with that assessment and are working to provide these opportunities to every student who is interested and motivated. 

Interesting, this expansion of opportunities comes with a challenge for each and every student.  Specifically, it will be more and more important for our students to make wise choices about how they will invest their time, energy and attention.  The temptation is very strong to try to take on every opportunity and meet every challenge.  The most important advice I can convey from our new alumni is to resist this temptation.  You can help us convey this advice to your student.   

Here is the advice I give to all students.  Instead of trying to do everything with little time to focus on any of these activities, choose just a few opportunities, very wisely, and do them very well.  Work with your faculty advisors in your residential college and in your field of study to narrow your choices.  Your Rice experience should not be about racking up a pages-long list of accomplishments or demonstrating your performance with a long list of majors or minors which add little in the long run.  Rather, your time at Rice will be best spent by focusing on your personal growth.  Invest yourself fully in the programs for which you have genuine passion; take chances on activities or studies that you might not be good at; allow yourself to experience failure along with success; then take the time to reflect on your experiences.  What can you learn and what will you learn that will help you become the person you want to be? 

Rice offers a vast and open landscape, but each must choose their own path.  The Rice faculty and staff are here to help.

Congratulations again to the graduates of 2015!  And to all new and returning students, we look forward to seeing you in August!


John Hutchinson
Dean of Undergraduates