Convocation 2017

Remarks from President Jeff A. Weiss

Welcome. We are thrilled you are here and joining a Lesley family made up of students, faculty, staff, and over 89,000 alumni around the world.

As you begin your time at Lesley, I want to share two words of advice: push beyond.

Push beyond what it says on the page. Learn to read, think, and respond with a critical eye.

Push beyond how society’s challenges are currently addressed. Strive to solve problems creatively. Learn to look at new angles and analyses to examine the problem, challenge your assumptions, inquire and share through a new medium, and put aside the limitations of what others say can and cannot be done.

Push beyond your opinion and worldview. Learn to seek out, build understanding of, appreciate, and learn from difference and diversity (the engines of creativity).

Push beyond your strengths. Learn to work with others and what they bring to the table, manage and leverage conflict, and act collaboratively.

Push beyond what you like and what makes you comfortable. Learn to, in fact made a habit of, trying something new. Have a conversation with some who is not like you. Read an article from a political perspective you’d ordinarily not consider. Take a course or try an activity that’s outside of your comfort zone, or even your interest zone.

Push beyond the temptation to decide that you are right and others are wrong. Whether in discussion about beliefs, opinions, or solutions, learn to listen to and actually hear others. Engage with others to consider multiple views, and multiple answers, together, side-by-side. Remain open in all situations to the possibilities of seeing, believing, and creating something different or something new. 

Push beyond your community, push beyond our community. Learn to look, listen, and act beyond yourselves (and ourselves) to serve those who most need our help, and to do so in the ways and in the manner that they most need it.

And, as you challenge yourself in these ways and to build these capabilities, be equally sure to be patient and kind to yourself.  Often you will find great success and great joy. Other times, you may fail and be frustrated (which is to be expected, and is a natural and critical part of the process of learning and growth). But, whatever the case, I hope you find and develop new parts to who you are, discover new inspirations and motivations, and continue to deeply develop your love of learning and your abilities to learn throughout your lives ahead.

Welcome to Lesley. We are thrilled you are here.