Dear Members (I Hope) of the Harvard Class of 2017:
I had hoped to spend a part of my Saturday with many of you, deploying all the wit and charm I could muster to persuade you to make Harvard your home for the next four years. I had hoped to regale you with a few stories of the remarkable students and faculty whose company you will keep, to give you a taste of the experiences inside and outside the classroom that make Harvard a singular place to attend college, to get you to start thinking of Harvard not just as a place to visit but as a place of your own. I had hoped to answer your questions—and, in the case of some of you still a little shy about commitment, maybe help gently induce a change in your relationship status.
As you know, sudden and tragic events intervened, forcing us to change plans. But, for all of us here, the disruption in our weekend gathering makes us all the more eager for the chance to welcome you here, for real, in a few months. I will spare you the speech I prepared, and save its sentiments for the time when I hope that a great many of you will arrive—with your suitcases ready to be unpacked, your courses ready to be chosen, your roommates ready to meet you, your minds ready to open, and Harvard Yard ready to take you in and launch you on a transformative and unforgettable time in your lives.
Whether you are an aspiring artist or scientist, whether you are from Minneapolis or Mumbai, whether your passions find you on the playing field or in the orchestra pit, whether you draw your intellectual energy from parsing texts or debating policy issues or writing code, I hope we will have the privilege of your joining the Harvard community.
Harvard is, more than anything, a product of the people we welcome here, year to year, generation to generation. We will be proud to have you as part of our future.
With warm wishes to you all,