It’s easy to be blown away by our latest class of Spiders. They’re among the most academically qualified classes we’ve welcomed. They also are the most diverse class in UR’s history.

With all of the achievements, perspectives, and backgrounds our newest students bring to campus, they also have some challenging work ahead as they join the critical conversations our campus will have about important issues of the day.

In his welcome to new Spiders, President Crutcher challenged the Class of 2021 to open up to new perspectives with civility — whether in the classroom, at campus lectures, and even over pizza at 1 a.m.­ — and to think about how they will use their education to create the world in which they wish to live.

“You have to speak up; you have to be ready for engagement; and you will have to be wrong sometimes,” President Crutcher told new students. “Your opinions and certainties will be challenged. And you will flourish.”

For those of you who know Richmond, the kind of intellectual gathering place President Crutcher described will sound pretty familiar. Around the lake, we’ve always been inspired to tackle difficult conversations with civility. Campus is the better for it, and so, President Crutcher would argue, is the world.

Our goal for savoring debate and civil discourse is to help build a better society around us. President Crutcher called on our newest Spiders to continue pondering and confronting the difficult issues of the day, from Charlottesville to Ferguson and Barcelona.

Those are the questions we live for on campus! Thank you, President Crutcher, for setting a great tone for the year ahead.