A new beginning is upon us once again as the academic year kicks off. If I had the chance to address students as they (re)embark upon their journeys, this is what I would say:
One of my favorite fictional characters, Mame Dennis, proclaimed “. . . I shall open doors for you. Doors you never dreamed existed.”*
Opening doors is exactly what a great college education is all about. A college education opens doors to new knowledge (such as the latest in artificial intelligence) and knowledge that may be new to you (for example, The Divine Comedy)— knowledge which will kindle lifelong passions. A college education opens doors to the development of talents (sculpting, financial planning) and abilities (critical thinking, creativity)—talents and abilities you may never have known you had. A college education opens doors to new experiences (study abroad, starting your own business) and new career possibilities (teacher, engineer) and causes (refugees, poverty, the environment)— experiences and causes you may never have considered before. A college education opens doors to an ever-expanding community of faculty and students who will become your family and friends.
There are many, many doors within each college and university. It is up to you to select not only the college that is right for you, but also the doors within each college through which you will walk.
Know this: Wisconsin’s private colleges and universities are here to help you open these doors.
These colleges and universities are open to students from all backgrounds. Moreover, they are so committed to opening doors for you that 96 percent of all undergraduates at WAICU-member colleges and universities receive financial aid. The average grant from these institutions to first-time, full-time undergraduates (aid that does not need to be paid back) is $19,376. In fact, 73 percent of the average undergraduate financial aid package at WAICU-member institutions is made up of aid that does not need to be paid back.
There are “open doors for you. Doors you never dreamed existed.”
Rolf Wegenke, Ph.D. President
*From Auntie Mame. Book by Patrick Dennis (1955); play adapted by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee (1956); motion picture directed by Morton DaCosta (1958).