President Michael Schill described his shared commitment to Northwestern’s values of diversity and inclusion during The Graduate School’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion Welcome Reception for new and continuing graduate students and postdoctoral trainees on Tuesday in Evanston.
“Experiencing diverse viewpoints was a critical part of my college experience,” Schill said to the group of about 150 people, which also included faculty and staff. “As an undergraduate and graduate student, I had many conversations with classmates from a variety of identities and backgrounds who held a wide range of perspectives. We talked about social and political issues, in some cases exposing me to perspectives I had not previously considered. Those conversations changed me. That’s what the best universities do. They create knowledge, challenge how we think, test long-held ideas and beliefs — and expand our horizons.”
President Schill emphasized the responsibility of universities such as Northwestern to facilitate healthy and respectful debate on society’s most divisive issues.
“As graduate students and scholars, this is particularly important,” he said. “I encourage all of you to engage with people from diverse backgrounds and thereby enable your own transformation. And know that each of you is important to us; each of you is valued; and each of you belongs here.”