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哈佛大学新校长就职演讲全文(中文+英文)

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(哈佛大学新校长劳伦斯·巴考2018年10月5日发表就职演讲)

书享界前言

今年7月,哈佛建校以来的首任女校长德鲁·福斯特(Drew Faust)正式卸任。随即,哈佛大学迎来第29届新任校长——劳伦斯·巴考(Lawrence S. Bacow)。10月5日下午,劳伦斯·巴考在美国马萨诸塞州剑桥市的哈佛校园宣誓就职。劳伦斯·巴考本科毕业于MIT,在哈佛大学先后取得JD (法学博士),MPP (公共政策硕士) 和PhD学位,曾担任MIT Chancellor和Tufts University校长。

哈佛大学校长的言行历来都受到社会各界的关注,因为他们的教育理念往往能够引领高等教育发展的潮流。在当今风起云涌的世界局势中,高等教育也受到了巨大挑战。在这次典礼上,劳伦斯·巴考也给出了万众期待的就职演讲。在这次时长35分钟的演讲中,他又给世界传达了什么信息呢?书享界刊登Bacow此次演讲全文的中英文,以飨书友。

*本文首发自哈佛大学校长办公室,书享界已获授权,舒小米重新排版

 

哈佛新校长劳伦斯·巴考就职演讲全文(中文)

 
(2018年10月5日)

大家下午好!

人们在哈佛大学学到了很多东西!

今天的哈佛广场,没想到能在这里看到你们这么多人。

一个很好的警示是,单靠自己,我们无法到达这个世界的任何地方——包括成为哈佛大学校长。

我很幸运,在前进的每一步中都得到人们的帮助。首先是我的父母,他们每天努力工作,使我获得广阔的机会;我的爱人Adele,她让我的生活充满意义、丰富多彩;还有我的孩子们,从他们身上我学到了很多,并且将持续学到更多的东西。如果没有他们,我今天就不会站在这里。

感谢我的所有家人和像家人一样的朋友们,感谢他们从各处赶来参加我的就职演说。

我也很幸运有着一直鼓舞我向前的老师和导师们,很荣幸今天有三位与我同在这里——我在哈佛的论文导师Mark Moore,Richard Zeckhauser和Richard Light。谢谢你们教给我如此多的东西。

我还要感谢我的前任校长们:Drew Faust,Larry Summers,Neil Rudenstine和Derek Bok,感谢他们在过去半个世纪的运筹帷幄。我同时还要感谢他们在我任职时给出的出色建议。

除此之外,我还要特别感谢塔夫茨大学(Tufts)和麻省理工学院(MIT)的同事们,他们教我如何成为高等教育领域里的领导者。我向你们保证,今天聚集在这里的很多人都在祈祷,希望你们把我教得很好!

当然,哈佛大学的校长们在任期内似乎也总会卷入到一些独特的危险——而且在其悠久的历史中,有着几乎无数的犯错的可能。

例如,Langdon校长由于学生反映其演讲拖延太久而被迫辞职 ,所以今天我会尽量做到简短。

再如,Mather校长认为剑桥的空气不适合他,拒绝从波士顿搬到剑桥(编者注:哈佛大学所在地)而激怒了整个哈佛社区。幸运的是,我很喜欢这里的空气!

即使是Eliot校长,可以说是哈佛大学最成功的校长,他的行为偶尔也会引发轩然大波。他曾经想要取消曲棍球,篮球和足球等团体运动项目,因为在他看来,哈佛绝不需要这些。他还曾一次又一次试图吞并麻省理工学院(MIT)

Rafael(编者注:麻省理工学院现任校长),你可以放松,我会尽力避免所有这些不幸遭遇。

我很荣幸能够担任这个伟大机构的领导,并为能够在这所美国最古老的大学服务而感到自豪。哈佛的教育体系在独立性,多样性和影响力方面表现出色,同时帮助塑造了美国的高等教育体系。

今天十分荣幸能够在哈佛迎来很多其他伟大教育机构的代表,同时也要感谢来自全国以及全世界的所有同事们的祝愿与支持,坦白来讲,领导任何一个学院或大学从来都不是一件容易的事情。

美国的高等教育正面临着诸多挑战。在我的有生之年,人们第一次质疑送孩子上大学的价值。

也是第一次,人们开始质疑学院和大学是否值得公众的支持。第一次,人们对大学是否对国家有益表示怀疑。

这些问题迫使我们思考:高等教育对国家生活究竟有什么样的贡献?

不幸的是,我们也许不愿承认,很多人认为,大学对各种政治派别的思想并没有做到应有的开放;同时大学变得不可承受,进入很难,与美国的其他部分失去了联系;他们还认为,我们似乎更关心如何让我们的机构变得更好,而不是让世界变得更加美好。

然而这里可能,或者有一个真理的核心:如果我相信这些批评从根本上代表了我们是谁,我今天就不会站在你们面前。 我们所有的机构都努力在经济、社会和政治的漩涡中作出明智的选择,尽管这些智慧难以为外人道也。

我们在这里需要共同重申,高等教育是一种值得支持的公共利益,是美国民主的重要支柱。如果高等教育体系被放弃,美国将会从根本上变得更加黯淡、次要。

值得铭记的是,美国的大多数创始人是第一代大学生。 他们不仅塑造了我们的政府形式,还建立了新的大学。 如果不是他们的思想通过学习得到了开启和提升,他们就不会确信政府和人民需要受过良好教育的公民。

即使在我们国家历史上最困难的时刻,我们的领导人也明白,他们可以通过教育更多的社会公众来增强国力。 亚伯拉罕·林肯(Abraham Lincoln )在内战的黑暗时期签署了莫里尔法案(Morrill Act),创建了赠地大学,在这个广袤的原始大陆上传播有用的知识。

富兰克林·罗斯福(Franklin Roosevelt)总统在诺曼底登陆仅仅两周后就签署了美国军人权力法案(G.I.Bill),将大学教育作为为国家服务的主要奖励之一,并首次将大量非特权阶级的美国人送入大学。

每一次高等教育的扩张,每一个对以前被排除在外的人的开放举措,都使美国更接近人人享有平等和机会的理想状态。

因此,高等教育不仅支撑着我们的民主,而且在某种意义上创造了它——而且,我们与理想还相距甚远。

我的朋友德鲁·福斯特(Drew Faust)经常希望哈佛大学能够做到最好。而对我来说,哈佛大学和我们所有大学的优点在于我们所代表的三个基本价值观念:truth(真理),或者按照哈佛大学的说法,veritas(真理);卓越;和机会。

今天,我们必须比以往任何时候都更好地体现和捍卫真理,卓越和机会。 我们这样做不是为了避开批评者的攻击,而是因为这些观念是使我们国家变得伟大。

我们的同事、美国参议员Daniel Patrick Moynihan曾说过:“每个人都有权发表自己的意见,但不是他自己认定的事实。”当我们考虑真理时,显然,我们距此已经又走了很长一段路。

既然技术已经消解了编辑的功能,允许任何人发表自己对事件的观点,我们碎片化的媒体只能用力区隔开观点和事实。结果往往是不受理性或事实控制的谣言、幻想和情绪的疯狂扩散。

正是因为我们发现自己身处一个“后真相”(post-factual)的世界,强大的大学教育才更加必不可少。

鉴于今天对批判思考以及区分信号和噪音的能力的需求,广泛的人文教育变得尤为重要。我们有责任教育学生成为有眼力的新闻和争论的鉴别者,并让他们自己成为真理和智慧的来源。

当然,事实和真理并不相同。事实是无可争议的,至少应当是无可争议的,而真理必须通过论证和实验来发现和揭示,并与对立的解释和想法充分讨论验证。这正是一所伟大的大学提供的功能,学者在努力理解和解释我们的世界的过程中,通过辩论和调配证据来支持他们的理论。

这种对真理的追求始终需要勇气,无论是在自然科学还是社会科学人文学科中。在自然科学中寻求范式转变的人最初经常遭到嘲笑,甚至排挤;而在社会科学和人文学科中,学者们为了捍卫他们的想法经常不得不受到各种政治力量的攻击。

真理既可以令人心安也可以令人感到不安,伟大的大学机构必须同时拥抱二者。在整个人类历史中,那些为改变世界做出最大努力的人往往是推翻传统智慧的人,所以我们不应畏惧欢迎挑战我们传统思维的那些人进入我们的社区。

换句话说,我们对真理的追求必须与对言论和表达自由的承诺紧密相连。

哈佛大学的校友跨越了政治和哲学的各个领域,其中一些曾在白宫、国会、最高法院任职,曾在世界各地相似的位置任职。在哈佛大学,我们必须拥抱各个维度的多样性,正如Baker州长所说,我们从差异中学习,包括意识形态的多样性。

作为教师,我们有责任挑战学生,使他们时时补充新思想,扩展他们的思维 ,并帮助他们认识到通过倾听他人,特别是意见不同者,可以获益良多。我们需要教会他们快理解、慢判断。

让我再重申一遍:我们需要教导我们的学生快速理解,慢做判断。作为教师,我们对彼此也应尽到这一责任。

请允许我转述伟大的神学家莱因霍尔德·尼布尔(Reinhold Niebuhr)的一句忠告,智者在对手的错误中寻找真理,在自己的真理中寻找错误。

在哈佛,我们必须努力作出榜样。在座的每一位都很聪明和敬业,在这里,言论自由是我们的准则之一,我们拥有丰富的资源和免于在恐惧中入睡的良好环境。如果在哈佛的校园里都无法探讨那些分裂我们的问题,那么世界其他地方便会更没有希望。

与此同时,我们不应为我们事事卓越而抱歉。哈佛就是卓越的同义词。

我们在全世界搜寻优秀的学生和教师,他们愿意在我们的教室、实验室、运动场和表演舞台彰显才华,并在社区中努力发挥重要作用。

我们对卓越的承诺永远不应被解释为对精英主义的拥抱。我们所代表的卓越不是与生俱来的特权。它不是由那些天生的特权者继承的东西 ,甚至不是那些天赋异禀的人所继承的内容。卓越不仅仅是由数字定义,它同时还包含着灵感和想象,毅力和决心。

我们所追求的卓越只有通过不懈的追求才能实现。学术成就好似冲入黑暗的甬道,不断接受失望,并再次出发。它无疑是混乱和费力的。我们喜欢庆祝“尤里卡!”的时刻,而这些瞬间诞生于长年累月的早出晚归之后。

我们在这里需要说明,美国的伟大取决于人们对卓越的承诺;以及大学教育对卓越的承诺和支持并不违背那些被社会遗忘的人的利益。

事实上,哈佛和其他地方的学者已经对美国加剧的收入不平等和下降的社会流动性发出了警告,他们致力于将我们的社会塑造成我们所希望的公正社会。

我们在所有领域进行的研究有助于产生新的知识,新的联系以及对人类状况的新见解。我们不止努力了解生命的起源,我们也思考生命的意义。我们探索使我们成为人类的分子密码,以及对我们人类同样重要的文化。

当今天的技术过时很久之后,人们仍然会阅读莎士比亚(Shakespeare)和加西亚·马尔克斯(Gabriel García Márquez);仍然会聆听莫扎特,鲍勃迪伦和来自我的家乡底特律、已故的伟大的艾瑞莎·富兰克林(Aretha Franklin);仍然会思考几千年来激发哲学家和诗人们思考过的伟大问题。艺术、文学、音乐和建筑是人类历史中创造过的最持久的财富。作为美国历史最为悠久的高等教育机构,哈佛大学负有特殊的责任,去捍卫自文明崛起以来便定义了受过教育的人们的知识传统。

我们所做的不仅仅是为学生提供系列知识 ,我们同时在丰富他们的人性。通过教导年轻人欣赏艺术、社会和自然的美好,我们帮助他们发现真正值得过的生活。

当然,我们不能自满于所取得的卓越。我们在世界各地都存在由其政府支持的竞争对手,这些政府明白,通往经济繁荣最快捷的路线贯穿于大学的实验室,图书馆和教室里。

无论我们的大学是公立的还是私立的,我们都依赖于美国人民的慷慨,他们为研究和经济援助做出了贡献。因为他们,我们才得以优秀,所以我们必须要努力以回馈他们的支持。我们始终要记住自己对公共利益的义务。

哈佛大学于1636年成立以来,它所教育的人们便一直在为国家做出贡献。他们不仅服务于学术领域,获得的国会荣誉勋章(Congressional Medal of Honor)的人数也超过任何一所学校。哈佛人一直积极参与各个时期的重大问题,而就在此时此刻,我们的校友中有68位正在为国会效力。除此之外,我们还有更多的校友在世界各地工作,为振兴他们的国家而作出努力。

我们需要确保后代继续以各种方式为更大的利益服务。我希望每个哈佛大学的毕业生都应该成为积极,开明,敬业的公民。所以今天我很高兴地宣布,我们将致力于筹集各方资源,以便保证每个希望获得某种公共服务的本科生获得实习的机会,由此有机会接触到更广阔的世界,并发现自己服务于世界的能力。

当然,如果我们只从社会的一小部分吸纳人才,我们就无法实现卓越。所以,我们的大学也必须为社会的各个角落提供机会。

从最广泛的意义上讲,人人确实生而平等的:人的才能是均匀分布的。遗憾的是,机会并不如此。

纵观历史,高等教育使我们中最具雄心的人,提升他们的经济和社会地位。国家所采取的众多举措,都是作用于中产阶级以及更高的阶层,使他们提升经济和社会地位,即使它们推动了美国的经济增长,并使美国处于创新领域的领导地位。

我们必须确保高等教育仍然是较低收入家庭提升经济地位的大门,正如我和我父母那一代时一样。现在,尽管大学教育仍然能帮助毕业生获得更好的发展环境,但入学费用以及持续到毕业所需要的花销,让许多家庭望而生畏。

这就是为什么哈佛大学的资金援助计划「由拉里·萨默斯(Larry Summers)创办,并由德鲁·福斯特(Drew Faust)扩展」如此重要。我们告诉低于一定水平的低收入和中等收入家庭:“你们可以将孩子送到哈佛,并且不用支付学费。”很大程度上,正是因为这项计划,今年新生中有268名同学,是家里的第一个大学生。

然而,显然,哈佛不能单枪匹马地让美国梦继续下去。

五分之四的美国学生在公立学院和公立大学接受教育,这些优秀的公立大学至关重要。然而,国家对教育的拨款在不断减少,使得学费和学生债务不断增加。这种趋势会使教育系统无法持续。

如果不能充分地支持公立高等教育,我们实际上是在典当自己的未来。在其他国家保持增加对高等教育的支持时,我们无法承担减少投资带来的后果。

作为高等教育领导者,我们还需要努力减少教育成本。高等教育是少有的几个竞争刺激价格增长的产业。是时候停止这场军备竞赛,考虑加强合作的好处了。

首先,我们可以共享研究基础设施,联合培养研究生并联合为教师提供住房。我们也可以通过交换合作,以消除课程中冗余的部分,并加强我们特定优势。我十分期待能与波士顿地区的机构合作,以探索出服务学生和社会的更好方案。

我们还必须利用技术,提升大学教育的效率和普及程度。我很自豪在与麻省理工学院的合作项目中,哈佛通过edX为全世界有才华的学生提供了教育机会,成为世界开放教育资源的领导者。同时,通过edX,我们也对学习之道有了新的见解。

作为校长,我们需要更坦诚地规划我们的各组织所做的决策,以披露它们的真正成本。传统上,学校院所的资源越多,产出就越多。但未来,我们需要学会用更少的资源,做更多的事情。

与此同时,我们有责任反驳关于高等教育价值的错误观念,并继续告诉在这个国家和世界各角落的孩子们一个简单的事实:如果他们想要进步,教育才是将实现梦想的途径。

大学帮我们这么多人实现了美国梦 —— 我们也因此必须保护子孙后代的梦想。

我的父母来到这个国家时,几乎身无分文地。我父亲到达美国时,还是一个刚刚逃离东欧大屠杀的难民小男孩,而我的母亲则是从奥斯维辛集中营中幸存下来的少女,她从来没有认为生活是苦涩的,反而时常感恩美国为她提供的一切。

这是一个常见的故事,属于美国的故事。除了美洲原住民以及那些由于奴隶贸易而被被迫带到这里的人的后代之外,我们大多数人都可以追溯到那些像我的父母一样,来到这片海岸寻求自由和机会的人们,为他们和后代寻求更美好生活的人们。尽管现在移民活动存在着巨大的风险,仍有许多人在继续这一旅程。

我们如何善待我们中间最弱势的人,是一个社会是否公正的重要衡量标准。但是,除了善良,我们还需要清楚地认识到:拒绝来自世界各地的优秀学生和学者,将削弱美国的知识和经济领导力。

在当今全球经济中,金融资本快速运转,自然资源也可以迅速转移。唯一真正稀缺的资本是人力和智力资本。如果一个国家想要繁荣,那么人力资本就是一个国家必须聚集和培育的东西。

幸运的是,来自世界各地的许多最优秀和最聪明的人都在寻求到美国读书的机会。在工程、数学和计算机科学领域,每年超过一半的博士学位都被授予给外国公民。这些学生中的许多人,将带着收获的知识回到故乡,建立蓬勃发展的公司,或着建立能提供更好教学的机构;或是在全世界与贫困、疾病和气候变化作斗争;或是引导他们的国家走向强大。

但是,相当多的国际学生将尽一切可能留在这里。我们应该拥抱而非拒绝这些优秀的人。在哈佛,超过三分之一的教师出生于其他国家。2000年以来,三分之一的美国籍诺贝尔奖获得者也出生于其他国家。除此之外,在美国,超过40%的500强企业是由移民或其子女创立。

美国必须继续欢迎那些寻求自由和机会的人,以免我们失去下一代伟大的企业家,学者,公共领域的领导人——还有大学校长——正如Lin-Manuel Miranda在“汉密尔顿”(Hamilton)中所唱,是移民建设了这个国家。

我希望所有在高等教育耕耘的人,都忠于我们的基本价值观 —— 真理,卓越和机会。我也希望,除了忠于它们之外,我们还可以在世界上推广这些价值观念。

仅仅在知识成就、表达及探索的自由、对有人才的开放这些方面代表社会最好的一面是不够的。我们必须捍卫高等教育在美国和其他国家的重要位置。我们甚至要将其扩展到更广阔的地方。

我们有责任使用我们拥有的巨大资源——我们的资产,想法和人才——来解决困难和分歧。

我们也有责任帮助美国牢记自己本质上的善好:建国基本原则所包含的善良、体面和正直;先辈们为了所有人能平等享受这些原则,不断抗争,所体现出的善良,体面和正直。

我们能决定是否让国家的明天和世界的明天比今天更好。这是真正的伟大所在。

我很荣幸,能够与各位一同努力实现这种伟大。我很感谢这个领导哈佛大学的机会,这让我变得更好。我也相信,这会让在座的每一位变得更好 ——它激励我们一起去攀爬那些从未想象过的高峰。

今天,我被我们的使命、我们的历史和我们所拥护的价值观所激励;被我们的雄心、我们的才能、善意的力量,以及摆放在我们面前的无限可能性所激励。我们应该使用我们的优势,帮助整个人类得到提升。

很荣幸能够与在座的各位把握这些可能性,我很乐意开始这趟新的旅途。

谢谢。

哈佛新校长劳伦斯·巴考就职演讲全文(英文)

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“It is up to us to leave our country and our world a better place
tomorrow than it is today,” President Bacow said in his inaugural
speech, which examined the challenges ahead for higher education while
explaining its importance. “I am delighted to begin.”

Installation address by Lawrence S. Bacow

 

Lawrence S. Bacow

President of Harvard

I guess it’s appropriate that I begin with — good afternoon!

 

People learn a lot at Harvard!

 

This truly is an astonishing sight, seeing so many of you here in Harvard Yard today.

 

It’s a great reminder that nobody gets anywhere of consequence in
this world on his or her own — and that includes becoming president of
Harvard.

 

I have been blessed to have people ready to help me at every step of
the way, beginning with my parents, who worked hard every day to ensure
that I had boundless opportunities. I would not be here today without
the love of my life, Adele, who has made my life so meaningful and rich,
and also without my children, from whom I have learned and continue to
learn so much.

 

I thank all of my family and my dear friends, who are also family, for traveling from far and wide to be here.

 

I have been blessed, also, by inspiring teachers and mentors, three
of whom I am honored to have with me today — my Harvard dissertation
advisors, Mark Moore, Richard Zeckhauser, and Richard Light — to mark
it. Thank you for having taught me so well.

 

I would also like to thank my predecessors Drew Faust, Larry Summers,
Neil Rudenstine, and Derek Bok for their thoughtful stewardship and
leadership of Harvard over the last half century.

 

I would also like to thank each of them for their excellent advice as I take the helm.

 

A special thanks also to my colleagues from Tufts and from MIT, who
taught me how to be a leader in higher education. I guarantee you that
there are many people assembled here who pray that you taught me very
well!

 

Of course, the Harvard presidency seems to involve some unique
hazards — and over its long history, a nearly infinite list of potential
missteps.

 

President Langdon, for example, was forced to resign after the
students found that his sermons dragged on too long — a great incentive
for me to be brief today.

 

President Mather, on the other hand, outraged the entire
Harvard community by refusing to move here from Boston, arguing that the
air in Cambridge did not agree with him. Fortunately, I actually like
the atmosphere here a lot!

 

Even President Eliot, arguably Harvard’s most successful president,
provoked an uproar now and then. He wanted to abolish hockey,
basketball, and football, on the grounds that they required teamwork,
and, in his mind, Harvard had absolutely no use for that. He also tried
over and over again to acquire MIT.

 

Rafael, you can relax. I’ll do my best to avoid all such misadventures.

I am deeply honored to assume the leadership of this wonderful
institution, and proud that as the nation’s oldest university, Harvard
has helped to shape the American system of higher education, which is
magnificent in its independence, sweep, and diversity.

 

I am also honored that so many other great institutions are
represented here today, and I thank all of my colleagues from all over
the country and all over the world for your good wishes — and, frankly,
your support, because this is not an easy moment to assume the
leadership of any college or university.

 

These are challenging times for higher education in America.

 

For the first time in my lifetime, people are actually questioning the value of sending a child to college.

 

For the first time in my lifetime, people are asking whether or not colleges and universities are worthy of public support.

 

For the first time in my lifetime, people are expressing doubts about
whether colleges and universities are even good for the nation.

 

These questions force us to ask: What does higher education really contribute to the national life?

 

Unfortunately, more people than we would like to admit believe that
universities are not nearly as open to ideas from across the political
spectrum as we should be; that we are becoming unaffordable and
inaccessible, out of touch with the rest of America; and that we care
more about making our institutions great, than about making the world
better.

 

While there may be — may be — a kernel of truth here, if I
believed that these criticisms fundamentally represented who we are, I
would not be standing before you today. All of our institutions are
striving to make wise choices amidst swirling economic, social, and
political currents that often make wisdom difficult to perceive.

 

We need, together, to reaffirm that higher education is a public good
worthy of support — and beyond that, a pillar of our democracy that, if
dislodged, will change the United States into something fundamentally
bleaker and smaller.

 

It’s worth remembering that most of the nation’s founders were
first-generation college students. They not only shaped our form of
government, they built new universities. Having had their own minds
opened and improved by learning, they were certain that government by
and for the people requires an educated citizenry.

 

Even at some of the most difficult moments in our national history,
our leaders understood that they could strengthen the nation by
educating more of our society. Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill
Act during the dark days of the Civil War, creating land-grant
universities to spread useful knowledge across this immense raw
continent.

 

President Franklin Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill just two weeks after D-Day, making
a college education one of the prime rewards for national service, and
sending vast numbers of less-privileged Americans to college for the
first time.

 

Every such expansion of higher education, every move toward openness
to those previously excluded, has brought the United States closer to
the ideal of equality and opportunity for all.

 

So higher education has not only supported our democracy, but in some sense it has created it — and we are nowhere near done.

 

My friend Drew Faust has often wished for Harvard that it be as good
as it is great. To me, the goodness of Harvard — and of all of our
universities — lies in the three essential values we represent: truth,
or, as we say here, veritas; excellence; and opportunity.

 

Today, we have to embody and defend truth, excellence, and
opportunity more than ever. We do this not to stave off our critics, but
because these are the values that made our nation great.

 

As we consider truth, clearly, we’ve come a long way from the days
when our colleague United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said,
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

Now that technology has disintermediated the editorial function,
allowing anybody to publish his or her own view of events, our
fragmented media struggle to make the distinction between opinion and
facts. The result, often, is a feverish diffusion of rumor, fantasy, and
emotion unconstrained by reason or reality.

 

And it is precisely because we find ourselves in this post-factual world that strong colleges and universities are essential.

 

Given the necessity today of thinking critically and differentiating
the signal from the noise, a broad liberal arts education has never been
more important. It is our responsibility to educate students to
be discerning consumers of news and arguments, and to become sources of
truth and wisdom themselves.

 

Of course, facts and truth are not the same. Facts are
incontrovertible, or at least they should be, whereas truth has to be
discovered, revealed through argument and experiment, tested on the
anvil of opposing explanations and ideas. This is precisely the function
of a great university, where scholars debate and marshal evidence in
support of their theories, as they strive to understand and explain our
world.

 

This search for truth has always required courage, both in the
sciences, where those who seek to shift paradigms have often initially
met with ridicule, banishment, and worse, and in the social sciences,
arts, and humanities, where scholars have often had to defend their
ideas from political attacks on all sides.

 

There are both reassuring truths and unsettling truths, and great
universities must embrace them both. Throughout human history, the
people who have done the most to change the world have been the ones who
overturned conventional wisdom, so we should not be afraid to welcome
into our communities those who challenge our thinking.

 

In other words, our search for truth must be inextricably bound up with a commitment to freedom of speech and expression.

 

At Harvard, our alumni span the political and philosophical spectrum,
including those who have served in the White House, in Congress, on the
Supreme Court, and in comparable positions throughout the world. Here
in Harvard Yard, we must embrace diversity in every possible dimension,
because as Governor Baker said so eloquently, we learn from our
differences — and that includes ideological diversity.

 

As faculty, it is up to us to challenge our students by offering them
a steady diet of new ideas to expand their own thinking — and by
helping them to appreciate that they can gain much from listening to
others, especially those with whom they disagree. We need to teach them to be quick to understand, and slow to judge.

 

Let me say that again: We need to teach our students to be quick to
understand, and slow to judge. And as faculty, we owe this duty to each
other, as well.

 

To paraphrase the great theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, it is always
wise to look for the truth in our opponents’ error, and the error in our
own truth.

 

At Harvard, we must strive to model the behavior we would hope to see
elsewhere. For if we can’t talk about the issues that divide us here,
on this extraordinarily beautiful campus, where everyone is smart and
engaged, where the freedom to speak one’s mind is one of our defining
precepts, where we are blessed with abundant resources and no one goes
to sleep in fear for his or her life — if we can’t do that here, there
is no hope for the rest of the world.

 

At the same time, we should not apologize for standing for excellence in everything we do.

 

Harvard is synonymous with excellence.

 

We scour the world for students and faculty prepared to demonstrate
brilliance in our classrooms, our laboratories, on our playing fields
and performance stages, and out in the community striving to make a
difference.

 

Our commitment to excellence should never be interpreted as an
embrace of elitism. The excellence we represent is not a birthright. It
is not something inherited by those born privileged — or even by those
born with great aptitude. It is defined by more than numbers, and it
encompasses spark and imagination, grit and determination.

 

The excellence we stand for is only achieved through tireless
pursuit. Scholarship is about charging down dark alleys, accepting
disappointment, and setting off again. It is messy and laborious by
definition.

 

Much as we love to celebrate the “Eureka!” moments in our
society, they are generally preceded by years of early mornings and late
nights.

We need to remind the nation of the degree to which America’s
greatness depends upon this commitment to excellence — and the fact that
supporting excellence at college and university campuses does not run
counter to the best interests of those who feel left behind by our
society.

Indeed, it is scholars here and elsewhere who have sounded the alarm
about increasing income inequality and declining social mobility in the
United States, and whose ideas will help us become the just society we
hope to be.

 

The research we pursue in all fields helps to generate new knowledge,
new connections, and new insights into the human condition. We work to
understand the origins of life, but also the meaning of life. We explore
the molecular code that makes us human, and the culture that is equally
essential to our humanity.

 

Long after the technologies of today are obsolete, people will still be reading Shakespeare and Gabriel García
Márquez; listening to Mozart, Bob Dylan, and the late, great Aretha
Franklin from my hometown of Detroit; and contemplating the great
questions that have motivated philosophers and poets for millennia. For
it is our art, our literature, our music, and our architecture which are
among the most enduring artifacts of human endeavor. As the nation’s
oldest institution of higher learning, Harvard has a special
responsibility to champion intellectual traditions that have defined
educated men and women since the dawn of civilization.

 

We do more than deliver a body of knowledge to our students — we
expand their humanity. By teaching young people to appreciate what is
beautiful in art, society, and nature, we help them to discover what
makes life truly worth living.

 

Of course, none of our institutions can afford to be complacent about
our excellence. We have competitors around the world, supported by
governments that understand that the swiftest route to a thriving
economy runs through university laboratories, libraries, and classrooms.

Whether our colleges and universities are public or private, we all
rely upon the generosity of the American people, who contribute both to
research and financial aid. We are excellent because of them, and must
endeavor to deserve their support. So it’s up to us to remember, always,
our collective obligation to the public good.

 

Since Harvard’s founding in 1636, the people educated here have
responded patriotically to the call to service. With the exception of
the service academies, more Harvard alumni have received the
Congressional Medal of Honor than any other school. Harvard people have
always vigorously engaged in the great issues of their day, and at this
very moment 68 of our alumni are running for Congress, on both sides of
the aisle. And our alumni throughout the world are working to strengthen
their nations.

 

We need to ensure that future generations continue to serve the
greater good in a variety of ways. It is my hope that every Harvard
graduate, in every profession, should be an active, enlightened and
engaged citizen. So I am pleased to announce today we will work toward
raising the resources so we can guarantee every undergraduate who wants
one a public-service internship of some kind — an opportunity to see the
world more expansively, and to discover their own powers to repair that
world.

 

Of course, we cannot achieve excellence if we are only drawing talent
from a small portion of society, so our colleges and universities also
must stand for opportunity.

 

In the broadest sense, all of us are indeed created equal: Talent is flatly distributed. But sadly, opportunity is not.

 

Throughout our history, higher education has enabled the most
ambitious among us to rise economically and socially. And every step the
nation has taken to print more such tickets into the middle class, and
beyond, has powered our economic growth and leadership in innovation.

We have to ensure that higher education remains the same economic
stepping-stone for those from modest backgrounds that it was for my
generation and my parents’ generation. While a college education still
helps to level the playing field for those who manage to graduate, the
cost of entry, and of staying the course until graduation, has become
daunting for many families.

 

This is why Harvard’s groundbreaking Financial Aid Initiative, started
by Larry Summers and expanded by Drew Faust, is so important. We simply
say to low- and middle-income families with earnings below a certain
level, “You can send your child to Harvard and we will ask you to pay
nothing.” Largely because of this, 268 members of this year’s first-year
class are the first in their family to attend college.

 

Clearly, however, Harvard cannot keep the American Dream alive single-handedly.

 

Our nation’s magnificent public colleges and universities, where four
out of five American students are educated, are key. But state
appropriations are funding a diminishing share of the cost of that
education, so tuition and student debt are rising. This trend is not
sustainable.

 

In failing to adequately support public higher education, we are
literally mortgaging our own future. At a time when other countries are
investing more in support of higher education, we as a nation cannot
afford to invest less.

 

As higher education leaders, we also need to do what we can do to
bend the cost curve. Higher education is one of the few industries where
competition tends to drive costs up. It’s time to stop this arms race,
and to consider the benefits of greater cooperation.

 

These can include shared infrastructure for research, joint graduate
student and faculty housing, or exchanges that allow us to eliminate
some of the redundancies in our curricula and to double down on our
specific strengths. I look forward to working with my colleagues at
Boston-area institutions to explore how we can collectively do a better
job of serving both our students and society.

 

We also have to explore the opportunities offered by technology to
improve productivity and access. I am proud that Harvard, in partnership
with our colleagues at MIT, has been a leader in opening up educational
opportunities to talented students throughout the world through edX. In
turn, they have us offered new insights into the science of learning.

 

As college and university presidents, we also need to be much franker
in framing the choices our institutions make, so as to reveal their
true consequences in terms of cost. Traditionally, colleges and
universities have been great at doing more with more. But in the future,
we may have to do more with less.

 

At the same time, it’s our responsibility to counter any current
myths about the value of higher education and to continue telling
children, in every corner of this nation and the world, the simple
truth: that if they want to get ahead, education is the vehicle that
will bring them there.

College has enabled the American Dream for so many of us — and we must nurture and sustain that dream for generations to come.

 

My parents came to this country with virtually nothing. My father
arrived here as a child, a refugee escaping the pogroms of Eastern
Europe. My mother survived Auschwitz as a teenager, lived without
bitterness, and always was grateful that America was so good to her.

 

This is a common story — this is America’s story. With the exception
of Native Americans and the descendants of those enslaved or brought
here against their will, most of us can trace our origins back to people
who, like my parents, came to these shores seeking freedom and
opportunity, and a better life for their children. And many continue to
make this journey today, despite enormous risks.

 

It certainly is one measure of a just society how well we treat the
least powerful among us. But beyond goodness, we must make the case for
common sense: that failing to welcome talented students and scholars
from around the world is to undercut America’s intellectual and economic
leadership.

 

In this global economy, financial capital moves at the speed of
light, and natural resources also move swiftly. The only truly scarce
capital is human and intellectual capital. That is what a nation must
aggregate and nurture, if it intends to be prosperous.

 

Fortunately, many of the best and the brightest from around the world
seek to study at America’s great colleges and universities. In
engineering, mathematics, and computer sciences, over half the
doctorates awarded each year are granted to foreign nationals. Many of
these students will return home with their sights raised, and go on to
build thriving companies and institutions of higher learning; to fight
poverty, disease, and climate change throughout the world; and to lead
their own nations toward goodness and greatness.

 

But a considerable number of these international students will do
everything possible to stay right here. Rather than turn them away, we
should embrace these extraordinary people. Over a third of our faculty
were born someplace else. Over a third of the Nobel Prizes awarded to
Americans in chemistry, medicine, and physics since 2000 have gone to
men and women who were foreign-born. Over 40 percent of Fortune 500
companies were founded by immigrants or their children.

 

America has to continue welcoming those who seek freedom and
opportunity, lest we shut the door to the next generation of great
entrepreneurs, scholars, public leaders — and, dare I say, university
presidents — for it is immigrants that get things done, as LinManuel Miranda said so well in “Hamilton.”

 

I hope that all of us in higher education remain true to our
essential values — to truth, excellence, and opportunity. But I hope, as
well, that in remaining true to them, we advance those values in the
world at large.

It’s not enough that we represent the very best of society, in terms
of intellectual achievement, freedom to express and explore, and
openness to extraordinary potential in all who possess it.

 

We must defend the essential role of higher education in the life of our nation and the broader world.

 

And we must reach outwards even beyond that.

 

We have a responsibility — we have a responsibility — to use the
immense resources entrusted to us — our assets, ideas, and people — to
address difficult problems and painful divisions.

 

We have a responsibility, as well, to help America remember its own
essential goodness: the kindness, decency, and integrity of our founding
principles, as well as the kindness, decency, and integrity of those
people who have fought throughout our history to ensure that these
principles apply equally to all.

 

It is up to us to leave our country and our world a better place tomorrow than it is today.

 

That is where true greatness lies.

 

I am honored to be able to work alongside each and every one of you to reach such greatness.

 

I am thankful for this opportunity to lead Harvard, which made me
better, and which I think makes everyone better—spurring all of us to
summit mountains we never imagined we could climb.

 

Today, I am inspired by the beauty of our mission, our history, and
our values, by the power of our ambition, talent, and goodwill, and by
the infinite possibilities before us, to use our strengths to help
humanity as a whole to ascend.

 

It is a very great privilege to seize those possibilities with you, and I am delighted to begin.

 

Thank you.

 

 

扩展阅读:耶鲁大学校长2018迎新演讲全文

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