Professor giving a lecture to students in old main

Celebrating the start of another academic year

A back-to-school message from President Samhat

Class of 2021 382
2017-09-04

Dear Wofford community,

Wofford College has much to celebrate as we begin another academic year. We welcomed 471 first-year students and transfers to the Wofford community. We also welcomed new faculty and staff, all of whom join our continuing faculty and staff in a singular commitment to student success. At Wofford we embrace the enormous responsibility we have to offer opportunities for students to engage the world, discover their passions and prepare for lives of extraordinary and positive contributions to society.

We also celebrate the community of civility, decorum and respect that is Wofford College. Today, our world faces issues of race, social justice, gender politics, terrorism, tax-reform, the threat of nuclear war, poverty, environmental and human sustainability, and a myriad of other regional and national challenges. The tenor of our times is troubled, but institutions of higher education in general, and Wofford College specifically, can and must set an example for how society engages in meaningful conversations, seeks understanding and devises solutions that benefit all while advancing our shared ends. We must be a place where differences of opinion and perspective are not the source of anger and vitriol, but rather where such differences motivate civil dialogue and respect. I am proud of Wofford’s history in modeling for others these practices, and we shall remain committed to doing so.

At Wofford College, transformational learning experiences occur both inside and outside of the classroom. They will certainly happen in the college's two new buildings — yet another reason to celebrate the start of the academic year. Today marks the first day of classes in the beautiful and functional Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts. We will celebrate the opening of the new center as a community at 11 a.m., Sept. 12. Student-athletes also will play their first games this semester in the new Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium. The first event in the new indoor stadium will be a volleyball match at 6 p.m., Sept. 20. For the first men’s basketball game vs. the University of South Carolina on Nov. 10, we also will have a special half-time celebration of Jerry Richardson. Mr. Richardson, Wofford Class of 1959 and owner and founder of the NFL's Carolina Panthers, announced these new buildings in the fall of 2014, immediately after Wofford adopted a comprehensive Strategic Vision. Thanks to Mr. Richardson and the many other generous donors who have committed to the college's vision, we are well on our way. I invite you to see for yourself. Visit the Strategic Vision website at wofford.edu/strategicvision. You're also welcome on campus any time to see firsthand our progress.

As always, we will welcome a variety of guests to campus throughout the year. Tomorrow at 11 a.m., Wofford will honor one of its own, the Hon. Henry Floyd, Class of 1970 and a justice on the U.S. Court of Appeals, who will receive an honorary degree and speak at Opening Convocation. This fall we also welcome David Brooks, columnist for The New York Times; Dr. Warren Kimball of Rutgers University, who will speak on Winston Churchill as politician and painter; Dr. Stephen Knott from the U.S. Naval War College as the Constitution Day speaker; and Dr. Laura Wexler comes to campus from Yale University as the Chapman Lecturer in the Humanities to talk about the legacy of Frederick Douglass.

As you can see, we begin the 2017-18 academic year as a vibrant community of engaged learning and reflection. Remarkable things are happening at Wofford College, and we invite you to celebrate with us the start of another year of student discovery and success.

Sincerely,

Nayef H. Samhat
President of Wofford College