When we sat down a year ago to write an editorial on what we thought our year as the editors of the nation’s Oldest College Daily would be like, we didn’t know what to expect. We wrote of uncertainty — not only in what it would be like to spend a year of our lives at the News, but also in what it would be like, as students, to live through a year of news we could not yet imagine. A strike had just ended, an academic review had just been released, a presidential race had not yet really started. No major stories seemed to loom on the horizon.
We didn’t expect the great administrative shakeup or the national and international dominance of some of Yale’s female athletes, and we certainly didn’t expect our tenure to come so quickly to an end. But what most surprised us was, despite all our ideas for changing this place, how much the weight of the News as an institution would carry us. The News’ greatest credit is its continuity; for an institution that changes hands every year, it’s remarkable that life here goes on uninterrupted.
In many ways, the year we covered here at Yale was one of transition. We tied up ends on stories that had consumed the coverage of past boards and began covering stories that will remain in the news for years to come. Issues have faded from our radar screens and others are just beginning to come into focus. The administration we have now looks almost nothing like the one we began our tenure with. Yale has announced plans for a new cancer center at Yale-New Haven Hospital, moving forward with the long-anticipated Science Hill project, and exploring new partnerships with Chinese universities. We are in the midst of a heated political race that was only a nebulous cloud of possibilities last fall.
In the past year, one era of Yale has come to an end and another is just getting started. This change means it’s an exciting time for Yale. Universities depend on change to keep them alive and dynamic. But, in all this change, it’s important that the University remember and build upon its past — something it’s been doing more of recently. Yale just celebrated the 150th anniversary of the graduation of the University’s first Asian student, and the Afro-American Cultural Center will celebrate its 35th anniversary of its founding this weekend. As we celebrate these events, its striking that events that were so extraordinary in their time seem so ordinary now. This is not to diminish the importance of these events. But the fact that having a Chinese graduate or a cultural house on campus seem so ordinary today is a sign of how far the University has come. That such revolutionary changes seem so obvious now is a testament to the positive power of change at Yale.
As Yale moves forward, it has the dual challenge of continually recreating itself while maintaining its core identity. Yale is much like the News in that way — despite its continuously shifting administration and revision of goals, it must strive to keep a consistent vision.
This weekend, we will elect the News’ new guard. We’re confident that the Managing Board of 2006 will maintain the essential balance of the constant innovation necessary to keep the News dynamic and the continuation of carrying on its weighty tradition. A year ago, we, too, came in ready to reshape the Oldest College Daily. What we were most unprepared for — more than any breaking news story we scrambled to cover — was how much it would shape us.