At this time of the year, I am reminded of the wonderful diversity that exists on Nazareth College’s campus. The Center for Spirituality has displays that celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Our freshmen class has the largest number of students of color in the history of the College. And as a recent Democrat and Chronicle article noted, for a relatively small school, we have a large number of international students. This semester we have students from 31 countries around the world.
One of the most interesting student stories is Jigme Sherpa's, a student from Nepal who will graduate in the spring with a double major in accounting and economics. He is the son of a monk who lives at the foothills of Mount Everest and Jigme has to walk two to three days from the airport to his home when he visits his family.
An important challenge for higher education is to prepare our students to live and work in a world that is filled with diversity. The growing interconnectedness of the world will continue to highlight the racial, ethnic, cultural and religious diversity that exists throughout our local, national and global communities. It is essential that students develop an understanding and appreciation for these differences. I am most pleased that Nazareth has a large number of academic and co-curricular programs that in one way or another focus on those understandings and skills needed to live in today’s world. So, at this holiday season, it is most appropriate that we celebrate the diversity on our campus.
I wish you a happy holiday season, and a wonderful New Year that finds the world closer to peace.