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President Ruth V. Watkins' back-to-school message for students, faculty and staff.

By President Ruth V. Watkins

Welcome to the U for Fall 2018! We are thrilled to have you on campus and are looking forward to a great academic year.

To our new students, staff and faculty: You and I are beginning this journey together as the year ahead will be my first as president of the University of Utah. It is an honor to lead the state’s flagship institution at an incredibly exciting time.

I also want to say hello to our continuing students and faculty who are returning to campus after what I hope was a refreshing break. Welcome back!

Our goal at the U is simple: We want you, our students, to have an exceptional educational experience, one that prepares you to solve big problems and meet critical needs in society.

With that in mind, we pair excellence in education with the support and resources you need to pursue your passions, gain knowledge and engage in hands-on learning experiences. What problems are you interested in tackling? Whatever your passion or ambition, our staff, advisors, counselors and faculty are ready to help you get off to a good start. I encourage you to take advantage of the resources available to you.

You will have the opportunity while here to collaborate not only with your fellow students but with our renowned faculty as they explore, create and innovate in their chosen fields. Get to know your professors. I found a mentor incredibly helpful in my own academic journey and encourage you to find someone to help guide you through college to career.

You will also have the chance to engage in learning experiences outside the classroom through student clubs, leadership roles, internships, study abroad and community service opportunities. All are a great way to build relationships with your peers, apply what you are learning to real situations and expand your understanding of the world.

But the college experience isn’t just about studying! I hope you will also take time to enjoy some of the activities that will be offered throughout the year, from arts to sports to clubs, lectures, symposiums, concerts, dances…an endless variety of events take place on a college campus, all designed to bring the campus community together, stimulate intellectual curiosity and complement learning. And did I mention fun? I want you to have fun! Being a college student is also about making memories and connections to last a lifetime.

I am confident this year will leave you inspired, transformed and more knowledgeable in your chosen area of study. I’m all in. I hope that you are, too. I stand ready to do all that I can to promote your success. Join me in making this an exceptional year.