When I first sat down to plan this issue of The Scene, I intended to discuss issues of citizenship. Realizing it would come out around election day, I decided to include some thoughts on immigration, a contentious issue in any election year. And with the five year anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, I wanted to examine how higher education has changed since that day.
But as I talked to colleagues on campuses across the nation, I discovered that higher education is much the same (other than changes for campus security and international education), and I began to wonder if people think our lives have changed much at all since that fateful autumn day. So I asked you, Scene readers, to write in with your thoughts, intending to publish the handful of letters I expected to received.
Thus began a dialogue with more than 100 of you who wrote in from across the country and around the world wanting to share your thoughts with your fellow alumni and other readers. Clearly, even five years later, the issues surrounding Sept. 11 still strike a chord: We do still care and, equally important, we still feel the need to talk about it.
I could add my reflections to yours, but after reading your letters, there was nothing new I could bring to the discussion. Better for me to fall back to my intentions for the magazine, not only for this particular issue but for every issue — to create an ongoing dialogue between the University and its alumni and other friends and supporters, a dialogue between readers themselves as they meet on campus, in the online community, at alumni gatherings, in their own neighborhoods and homes.
In this issue of The Scene, you will find the discussions of citizenship, immigration and Sept. 11 I intended, but interwoven and interconnected in ways I could not have foreseen before the stories evolved and your letters arrived. How has the world changed since Sept. 11? While our attackers’ intention was to terrify and shatter us, they did not foresee the ensuing dialogues that would lead us to reexamine our beliefs, realign our priorities, and rededicate our lives to making the world a better place.