When President George W. Bush ’68 and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton LAW ’73 take the podium on successive days this week, Yale will once again serve as the meeting ground for divergent viewpoints. The presence of these two leaders on the same stage embodies Yale’s triumphs of recent years and position of national and international prominence.
The University is enjoying a time of remarkable economic prosperity. A soaring endowment has made possible the renovations of the residential colleges, which will make immeasurable contributions to the quality of student life. At the same time, Yale’s financial recovery has allowed the construction of cutting-edge scientific research facilities that will pave the way for continuing discovery. The renovation of athletic facilities and the successful reemphasis of sports has helped unite Yale and the greater community behind the Bulldog cause. Now, more than ever before, the University seeks to extend the benefits of its past achievements, both locally and globally.
The University has made great strides toward realizing its connection with and responsibilities to the surrounding New Haven community and has spearheaded a spectacular revitalization of Broadway. The University will open its doors still wider with need-blind admissions for foreign students and the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. Initiatives to bring international perspectives to campus and broaden areas of study will better prepare all Yale students to become leaders in a world where borders have begun to lose their meaning.
Yet urban expansion and internationalization bring the University not laurels alone but also responsibility to those who will never see its gothic spires or who live just beyond its walls.
The presence of President Bush and Senator Clinton should serve as a model for the civility and complexity of discussion that Yale will need in order to face the future challenges posed by its present success.