After the longest and hardest reading season ever (with the weather outside duplicating the stormy debates inside), it's fun watching admitted students visit the beautiful campus and make up their minds about where to spend the next four years. I'm looking forward to another great class, and since we had many more applications (6% up) and a smaller class goal (6% down), we had to be choosier than ever. So it's a class that will be even more full of the students we found most compelling. This past year, we designed a single "Meliora" extra Rochester essay, and one of the applicants struck me with a cogent description of why he was applying:
"When Mr. Burdick visited [my] campus and said that the type of student Rochester is looking for is one who challenges the status quo and can be interested in studying two completely different fields, I thought he was talking to me personally. As my personal essay shows, I am someone who does not take anything for granted and finds it easier to challenge unexamined propositions than to simply accept the conventional dogmas. I also have a passion for sciences and theological literature…
"…And here comes the 'Meliora' moment. Rochester is a “top tier” research university where you can still get a chance to tailor your own curriculum. Given the freedom to be in full control of what I study and a myriad of options to choose courses from, I will be doing everything out of passion rather than out of a mere duty. I will be able to stretch my intellectual curiosity to the limit devouring any interesting course I can land my hands on. I hope to come out of Rochester a passionate scientist. What easier way is there to find your Life`s Calling than to have the chance to be in full control of what you study in college?"
That's taking our unique open curriculum and applying it to your own life. When I see our next class arriving full of students with this shared idea about milking more than one of their academic opportunities—an idea that isn't on average shared by all students elsewhere—I feel lucky that I'm here, and no matter what the polar vortex does next year, I find it hard to imagine being anywhere else.
Meliora to all (!), congratulations, and best wishes for your future, wherever it may take you.