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From the Editor

Having been a philosophy/poli sci major as an undergrad, it’s no surprise that I would relish talking to Michael Lynch, professor of philosophy and director of the Humanities Institute here, about his efforts to mend this country’s divides with civil discourse and meaningful rhetoric (see “Saving Civility,”). What did surprise me was that our discussions left me feeling hopeful that efforts such as his could indeed make 2017 a year of listening and coming together. It also made me wonder if others were finding reasons to be hopeful in this new year. So I put that question to some of the wisest folks I had the pleasure of getting to know in the course of this job last year. —Lisa Stiepock

Here are a few of the responses:

“I am hopeful that 2017 will encourage people fortunate enough to live in open societies to more deeply realize the responsibilities that come with such privilege.”

Alexis Dudden

Alexis Dudden
History professor and Fulbright Scholar, Storrs

“I’m hopeful that despite all the fake news and polarization – and partly because of it – that there will be renewed faith in the importance of speaking truth to power.”

Michael Lynch

Michael Lynch
Philosophy professor and director, Humanities Institute, Storrs

“That U.S. citizens who are displeased by the 2016 presidential election will get more involved in the political process and their communities. That’s the only way that next time, there will be a candidate that represents them and their interests.”

Kim Krieger
Research writer, University Communications

“Biomedical scientists are making rapid progress. I am hopeful (no, certain!) that new advances in understanding or curing rare diseases will be made.  There will be at least one kid who has a better life because of the scientific progress made.”

Stormy Chamberlain

Stormy Chamberlain
Raymond and Beverly Sackler Assistant Professor of Genetics and Genome Sciences, Farmington

“Number one: The Yankees farm system continues to produce a boatload of talent, some of whom help the major league club as early as next season. Because the Yankees have the top prospects in the minors, according to veteran baseball analysts.

Number two: Because so many weird things happened in 2016 that anything is possible in 2017. (Ha!) President Trump and Congress figure out a way to pass meaningful tax reform and comprehensive immigration reform, two crucial issues that Washington D.C. has so far been unable to address.”

Stu Rothenberg ’77 Ph.D.

Stu Rothenberg ’77 Ph.D.
Founding editor and publisher, The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report, Washington D.C.

“Since we’ve recognized the glass ceiling for what it really is – a very thick layer of men – I have been seeing amazing women everywhere. So I am hopeful that 2017 will see increasing numbers of compelling and competent women on boards, in office, in the media, behind microphones, in front of cameras, and in print.”

Regina Barreca

Regina Barreca
English professor, Storrs

“I am hopeful that we pay attention to what’s going on at home on all fronts before looking afar.”

Kathleen Dudzinski ’88 (CLAS)
Founder and Director, Dolphin Communication Project, Port St. Lucie, Fla.

“I hope we will listen more to each other and act accordingly.”

Marie Coppola
Assistant professor of psychological sciences and linguistics and director, UConn Creation Lab, Storrs

“I am hopeful that the results of this past election will galvanize college students across America to want to dive deeper into being active participants in shaping the future they desire and deserve. Advocating for human rights, no matter the obstacles, is always a journey worth taking.”

Douglas Casa ’97 Ph.D.
Kinesiology professor and director, UConn’s Korey Stringer Institute

“This year, I am hopeful that in the wake of so much outward, argumentative behavior, people will remember to go inward and take care of themselves, their bodies, their minds, and their hearts, and start to see each other differently because of it.”

Amanda Slavin ’08 (ED), ’09 MA
Founder and CEO, CatalystCreativ, Las Vegas, Nev.

“I’m wishing and hoping that the world will finally realize we’ve entered a new – still unofficial – geological epoch called the Anthropocene. The big idea here is that human activities are so thoroughly integrated into Nature that it can no longer be seen as something separate. With acceptance of this portmanteau, those working on behalf of the environment will be seen as working on a human creation. This, I hope, will translate into cooperative, rather than oppositional, policies for conservation and management of natural resources and natural hazards.”

Robert M. ‘Thor’ Thorson

Robert M. ‘Thor’ Thorson
Geology professor, Storrs

“I am hopeful that the University will continue to be a welcoming place to all students, faculty, and staff, and that despite our differences or maybe because of them, we can all continue to work together. I hope that learning and education will never go out of style, and that in 2017, some of the tremendous steps that women have taken in education (our undergraduates are 50 percent female and our graduate students are 51 percent female) will be reflected in the board room, on senior management teams, and in top managerial positions across organizations.”

Lucy Gilson
Management professor and department head, Storrs

“I’m hopeful that we can seek more opportunities to learn about – and from – one another; and find moments to engage in dialogue that will help us to dispel the widely held biases about groups that keep us apart. That’s more than one but they are connected!”

Joelle Murchison
Associate vice president and chief diversity officer, Storrs

“My hope for 2017 is that we can get back to a decent level of respect and civility. 2016 produced a major fracture within our country and brought out the worst in people. I am hoping we can all work towards mending that fracture and not let fear and ignorance become common place. Professionally, I would love to be able to engage more alumni using community service as the vehicle to do it.”

Montique Cotton Kelly
Associate vice president, Alumni Relations, Storrs

“I am hopeful that our housing in Stamford fills right away, and that the effects of these new students and increased enrollment will immediately begin to reshape the campus and the city in a positive way.”

Terrence Cheng
Director, Stamford Campus

Here’s hoping!

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