Today was supposed to be the first day of classes for Mason’s spring, 2009 semester, but we decided to cancel classes. One the one hand, getting faculty to classes was going to be difficult with many of the roads in the D.C. area closed, and this gives our students the chance to be part of all the excitement. Over 2,000,000 people are expected down at the national mall. Our faculty are being interviewed by media, and many of our students are braving the cold this morning, and some looking forward to dressing up tonight to attend one of the ten official Inaugural Balls, or the very unofficial ball on campus.
I’ll be reading applications today as I watch the parade and oath of office. Like many of my colleagues, as I read I wonder whether years from now I’ll be watching one of these applicants taking that oath, anchoring the news. So many times during the year I find myself writing (or just ranting) about where the admissions process has gone wrong – the excessive marketing, the impersonal decisions, and on and on. It’s easy to forget the reason most of us are in this job – that we believe in our colleges and universities and the potential of our institutions to help students make a difference. Unfortunately, that won’t ease the pressure for those of you still trying to get your final applications submitted, and the majority of you waiting for decisions. I’ll post some suggestions for easing that pressure, but in the meantime, I hope you all get admitted everywhere you apply, I hope you all get every scholarship you want, (I hope most you pick Mason), and I truly and deeply hope you take advantage of those opportunities to change the world. Be seeing you.