August 27, 2014

It’s a pleasure to welcome our students to the University of Illinois, whether you’re new and still finding your way around or coming back after a summer away.

The weeks, months and years ahead on our campuses will literally define your future – a time to explore career possibilities, lock in your goals and nurture the skills to achieve them.

Not that long ago, your time here would have been the capstone of your education, developing talents that would serve you for a lifetime.

But times have changed.

The University of Illinois is still a proven springboard to success, a premier university with a global reputation for excellence and more than 650,000 living alumni that include leaders at the very top of their fields. But today your education can’t end here. We now live in an era where lifelong learning is essential to keep pace with rapidly evolving technology that is redefining our workplaces, and to adapt as innovation creates career opportunities that were once unheard of and relegates others to memory.

So use your time here to learn not just the lessons at hand, but to ensure your education continues once you leave – fostering a sense of curiosity that keeps you looking ahead to the next hill rather than resting on the one you’ve already climbed.

This is truly a special place, a world leader in education and research, and I hope you seize the many life-changing opportunities it provides, both in the classroom and in your interactions with fellow students who will help you explore your newfound knowledge and expand your understanding of the world.

Again, welcome to the University of Illinois. I wish you a year filled with discovery and achievement, and be sure to have a little fun along the way.

Robert A. Easter