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President's Convocation Welcomes Class of 2000


Indranath Neogy--The Tech
President Charles M. Vest gave his annual convocation speech in Kresge Auditorium yesterday afternoon.

By Kai-Yuh Hsiao

The Class of 2000 was officially welcomed to MIT yesterday afternoon at the annual President's Welcome Convocation in Kresge Auditorium.

Speeches by President Vest and other members of the MIT community emphasized the potential of the "class of the new millennium" and charged them to get involved in campus affairs and activities, accept responsibility, and to take an active role in their education.

President Charles M. Vest kicked off the Convocation by reassuring the freshmen that they all have the potential to succeed at MIT. "You can make a difference, and because of your talent and what we will offer you here, you will make a difference in the world," he said.

Vest then told the freshmen that it was time to leave the "preparation mind-set," emphasizing that "Real life begins today. Right here at MIT."

He encouraged freshman to learn to work together and with the faculty, in a collaborative "partnership in learning," citing the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, the Freshman Advising Seminars, and the various alternative freshman programs as examples of success.

Vest spoke optimistically about the future of science, disagreeing with those who predict "the end of science" and listing many areas of science that mankind still needs to learn more about.

Vest closed his speech by addressing the increased diversity of the freshmen class. He urged them to "be proud of who and what you are, but be prouder still of what we can become together."

Molina, Lee, Williams speak

Professor of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Mario J. Molina gave the convocation's keynote speech. He began with a brief overview of his Nobel Prize- winning work on chlorofluorocarbons and moved on to address environmental issues and social issues. He closed his speech by urging students to learn actively, to challenge the system, and to enjoy learning.

President of the Undergraduate Association Richard K. Lee '97 took the opportunity in his speech to emphasize the need for student action. He spoke about his original intentions to go to Princeton University and how his attitude about MIT changed once he became involved in student affairs here.

Lee said that his experience with Counterpoint magazine taught him that he could have an effect on his experiences at MIT. This realization led to his involvement with student government.

He closed his speech by emphasizing to students that by getting involved, "the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will serve you well in shaping your experiences."

Last to speak at yesterday's convocation was Dean for Undergraduate Education Rosalind H. Williams, who gave the incoming class advice about how to live and take responsibility for themselves.

She then talked at length about the people who had spent the summer organizing Residence and Orientation Week. She acknowledged the workers, introduced the leaders, and in closing provided a transition for the freshmen to head straight to the Project Move Off Your Assumptionsfestivities that followed the convocation.