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CMU Welcomes Class of 2021

Carnegie Mellon University this weekend welcomed approximately 1,670 first-year students to campus with words of encouragement and support, and a preview of what the next four years hold


In a speech to new students and their families Sunday morning, Carnegie Mellon Interim President Farnam Jahanian said CMU has seen near-record enrollment of female students across each of its schools and colleges, and for the first time in university history, more than half of the students are women.

CMU is exceptionally multicultural and multinational, Jahanian said — the Class of 2021 includes students from 45 states and 27 nations — and the university’s commitment to inclusion is a core value.

“Here at Carnegie Mellon, we all bear responsibility for ensuring that this university is diverse, inclusive and welcoming. You need to help us nurture that culture,” Jahanian said, as he reflected upon recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia. “When we recruit diverse perspectives and ideas to our community, help people from all walks of life succeed, and consider ideas from across the spectrum in a culture of civil discourse — we all win.”

Jahanian encouraged the new CMU students to venture outside their academic boundaries, focus on the present and make each college experience a meaningful one. He reminded students to treat themselves with care and to always remember they are not alone.

“When you encounter moments of uncertainty or face challenges, leverage the incredible network of administrators, advisers, faculty and staff who are always available to offer guidance. If you see me around campus or you see our deans on campus, say ’hello.’ Let us know how you’re doing,” Jahanian said. “And lean on each other. This is one of the most profound ways in which we can act as a community and thrive as individuals.”

First-year students have arrived in time for CMU’s celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the merger of Carnegie Institute of Technology and the Mellon Institute of Research. The golden anniversary theme is “For the Founders,” an homage to Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon, who created the two entities before they were joined.

Gina Casalegno, vice president for Student Affairs and dean of Students, welcomed students and families to Carnegie Mellon.

“You are here because we see in you the talent, the intellect, the passion necessary to thrive in your chosen field,” Casalegno said. “We also see you have the leadership capacity and the commitment to your community to be the change makers we desperately need to make a real impact in society.”

As first-year students embark on a week of orientation, rising junior Gaurav Balakrishnan encouraged the Class of 2021 to get to know one another and engage with the CMU community.

“This week is going to be so energetic. There are going to be so many interactions with people from all kinds of backgrounds,” Balakrishnan said. “It’s an opportunity to create your foundation here.”

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