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Sterk welcomes students, faculty, staff to new academic year

As the new academic year begins, President Claire E. Sterk reflects on Emory's impact and how "it is our calling both to appreciate what we've inherited and to strengthen, mold and improve our institution for future generations."

Editor’s note: Emory President Claire E. Sterk sent the following message to the Emory community on Sept. 4.


Welcome to the new academic year. I want to extend my warmest greetings to the Emory community, including all those who are joining Emory for the first time this year. More than 1,000 international scholars and 3,100 international students from nearly 100 countries will study and work on our campuses this year, demonstrating that Atlanta and Emory are gateways to the world. We value the integrity and talent they bring, and we look forward to their engagement in our shared mission.

With so many dynamic newcomers joining our community, it’s fitting that we celebrate the opening of the Emory Student Center—what I hope will become a gathering place for many. The center serves as a reminder of Emory’s commitment to a thriving and compelling student experience. It also stands as a model of sustainability, with energy-saving and renewable-energy features such as geothermal wells and solar water-heating that make it one of the most energy-efficient student centers in the U.S. I’m proud that Emory is continuing to lead the way in campus sustainability, and as we consider the challenges posed by climate change, each of us must share in the responsibility for our planet’s future.

Emory’s impact extends beyond our own immediate environment. Our most recent Impact Report highlights the many remarkable ways Emory faculty, staff and students are leading for tomorrow. From research that saves lives to alumni engaging their communities, from philanthropy that empowers students to the top-notch care provided by our health care practitioners, it’s clear that we share a passion for improving the world around us.

Although we are privileged to be immersed in academic pursuits, we are also shaped by, and engaged in, the critical issues of the world around us. With a national election on the horizon, the coming year promises to be eventful and historic. Emory’s commitment to be a welcoming and supportive environment for scholarship, research and civil discourse remains unwavering.

We also remain steadfast in our commitment to an inclusive community, grounded in deep respect for one another. On a personal note, I’ve never subscribed to the idea that diversity is something to be “accepted” or “tolerated.” On the contrary, I believe diversity should be enthusiastically embraced and celebrated. Our different identities, perspectives, experiences and backgrounds are the true strength of our institution—and the best guarantee of an even more fulfilling future. 

My hope for the coming year is that we all find new ways to strive for excellence, both personally and for Emory itself. It is a privilege to be part of the Emory community. Countless thousands of alumni, faculty, staff, parents and other friends have sacrificed greatly to build the amazing academic community we enjoy today. It is our calling both to appreciate what we’ve inherited and to strengthen, mold and improve our institution for future generations. 

I hope you are as excited as I am to see how Emory’s story advances. The impact you can have cannot be overstated. I’m glad you are here, and I’m honored to serve as Emory’s president.

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