You will do this within the context of our unique learning community, one that exists at the intersection of a strong tradition of academic excellence and the exhilaration of self-discovery. To get the most out of your experience here, you must embrace each with equal ferocity. When you begin to quench the thirst of your mind, you will find that doors open to ways of being that you had never imagined.
This is both a revelation—and a responsibility. Your IC experience does more than deliver an opportunity for an education. It empowers you to use your knowledge to drive forward the promise of our society and the necessity of centering our shared humanity in a world that can be deeply inhumane.
Ithaca College’s roots are planted within our founding as a music conservatory, a place where the most talented artists traveled to receive a best-in-class music education. We are still known for this.
Because of this genesis, the academic enterprise at Ithaca College revolves around three pillars: theory, practice, and performance. These are foundational principles that we embrace today through our identity as an institution that is embedded deeply in the liberal arts and honors the importance and urgency of professional practice.
We live our approach to theory through critical and innovative intellectual inquiry. In our practice, we call upon our curiosity and our commitment to honoring different ways of knowing. We interpret performance as sharing, as a powerful expression of self, as a mechanism to celebrate the beauty of life and our unique contributions to the world. All of you have a bright voice, a gleaming perspective. At Ithaca College, you will learn how to shine.
Students, take a moment to look around. There are new faces here, a new environment. You are among 1,655 first-year students, 80 of whom transferred to Ithaca College from 62 other institutions. There are 280 first-generation college students in the Class of 2022—students who, like me, are the first in their families to attend college. Notice the 28 flags that hang around this stage; they represent the countries and territories of origin for 43 students in your class. And 32 of you come to IC from right here in Ithaca.