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E Pluribus '01
"You are the most academically accomplished class ever to attend Penn," Dr. Judith Rodin, CW'66, president of the University, told a noisy incoming Class of 2001 at the annual Convocation ceremony. In the steamy confines of the Palestra (see p. 16 for the reason Irvine Auditorium, the traditional location, wasn't used), she reeled off statistics about the hundreds of valedictorians, salutatorians, editors, and student-government leaders that fill their ranks. But, she added, "every one of you is exceptional and remarkable and special in some way."
Rodin also drew upon the themes of this year's Penn Reading Project: Garry Wills's Lincoln at Gettysburg, which the 2,349 incoming freshmen were required to read over the summer in preparation for informal discussions with faculty.
"The quandary of being different, of differences among us, was being fiercely deliberated by the citizens of the United States when Lincoln first delivered the Gettysburg Address," Rodin said. "You too must strive to rise above any differences among you. The best part of your education here will come from making such leaps, from taking risks and from breaking down boundaries."
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