President Reif to Class of 2021: “We are very lucky to have you!”

Published in MIT News on August 28, 2017, by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office

“MIT is a magnificent machine for inventing the future,” Reif tells incoming freshmen.

MIT greeted the incoming Class of 2021 with its annual Convocation in front of Kresge Auditorium, treating them and their parents to personal stories of what it was like to first arrive at MIT, as told by President L. Rafael Reif and three highly accomplished faculty members.

Reif described his own fears when he arrived at this campus, having grown up in Venezuela, not knowing anyone in the area. He worried, among other things, about whether he was good enough to succeed here, whether his English was good enough, and what it would be like to experience snow for the first time. But those fears were quickly erased: “Very soon, MIT became my academic home,” he said, “and this community became my extended family. I hope that you will come to feel that way, too.”

Those initial fears vanished, he said, when “I found that what mattered at MIT was not where you come from or who you know, but what you contribute: good ideas, new perspectives, hard work, and creativity.” MIT, he said, “was the first place where I could stop feeling self-conscious, particularly about what interested me...”

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