Dear Fordham,

Welcome back, and for those of you just joining our community, welcome to the family! I love this time of year, so full of possibility—the smell of school supplies, the first hints of cooler weather (I’m from New Orleans so this feels cool to me). And for those of us who have worked through too many academic years to count, we stop to remember how blessed we are to do this work together. To learn (all of us, constantly), teach, push, engage, and create community.

There are so many stories to tell across our campuses, schools, and departments, but let me focus on one. Sunday, we moved first-year students into the residence halls, our commuters joined us for welcome receptions, and together, we began orientation.

It is a day full of precious and poignant moments. Parents beam with visible pride in the children they raised, mixed with wonder that the babies they held in their arms so recently have grown into towering adults. I’ve learned to stop asking them, “How are you doing?” because the question provokes too many tears. And the students, most of them just 18, veer back and forth between excitement and anxiety, eagerness to begin and dread at the moment they will say goodbye.

Fordham welcomes these students in a remarkable fashion, a logistical feat performed by many of you. Three hundred student volunteers call out the name and hometown of each student as they arrive, cheering and dancing. I have never seen anything like it.

For all of our incoming students, including graduate and professional school students, a bit older but feeling anxious and excited, too—welcome. You got this. We got you.

Fordham, we have so much work to do together, so many urgent problems in the world to solve, so many ways we can make this campus community even better. I can’t wait.

All my best,

Tania Tetlow