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This week started with frosty cold temperatures that preserved last weekend’s snow. In the office, answering questions and processing applications was the primary activity.  Only a few days later, the outdoor temperatures have risen, rain has washed away the snow, and I’m throwing myself into a pile of applications (virtual pile, that is — we read online) for the first time in this round of the process.  Reading applications at home is a weekly adventure for the Admissions staff.

Warm weather outside makes me a happy reader inside. On an ordinary January reading day, way too much mental space is consumed by keeping myself warm.  Today, it’s comfortable inside and I can focus only on the applications.  That, and a cup of coffee, which is now ready.  Back to reading!

 

Final exams officially end today, but students have been heading off for winter break since before last weekend.  Curious about where folks are traveling?  Our Coffee Hour list gives you a good indication.  And also an invitation!  If you will be in one of the cities on the list, you’re invited to join a Fletcher student or recent alum for conversation over your preferred hot beverage.

Details are still being finalized for some locations, but we hope you’ll plan on joining us if you can.  Register from the website for coffee in any of these cities.

Fletcher MugAmman, Jordan
Austin, TX
Bangalore, India
Berlin, Germany
Bogotá, Colombia
Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
Copenhagen, Denmark
Edinburgh, Scotland
Fez, Morocco
Geneva, Switzerland
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Honolulu, HI
Istanbul, Turkey
Kathmandu, Nepal
Larnaca, Cyprus
Los Angeles, CA (Huntington Beach)
Madrid, Spain
Melbourne, Australia
Mexico City, Mexico
Miami, FL
Minneapolis, MN
Moscow, Russia
Mumbai, India
New Delhi, India
New York, NY
Newport, RI
Norfolk, VA
Phonm Penh, Cambodia
Prague, Czech Republic
Rome, Italy
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
Seattle, WA
Seoul, South Korea
Tel Aviv, Israel
Tokyo, Japan
Washington, DC

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I tend to let National Public Radio keep me company in the morning, with the result that a member of the Fletcher community frequently joins me while I eat breakfast or commute to work.  This week, my cup of tea was accompanied by the voices of two graduates.

Yesterday I was visited by Vali Nasr, F84 — a double Jumbo (alumnus of Tufts undergraduate and Fletcher) who happens now to be the dean at Johns Hopkins-SAIS, having previously taught at Fletcher — talking about Saudi Arabia, Iran, and this year’s hajj.

And then today, it was R.D. Sahl, F95, a graduate of the one-year MA program, who will be delivering reports for a new app that makes it easy to follow politics, in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential election.

Whether it’s an alum, a professor, or Dean Stavridis, hearing their stories and analysis over the radio is a welcome reminder that I’m part of a terrifically interesting and knowledgeable community.

 

This has been a very strange and sad week in the Boston area, but I was determined to close out the week on a positive note.  Tomorrow is the deadline for making enrollment decisions for most of our admitted students, which means that we’ll soon welcome a new class to Fletcher (YAY!), but also say goodbye to many applicants who have made the decision to pursue another opportunity.  (We wish you all the best in your future studies!)

But even as we try to answer the last minute questions of applicants making their final decision, our work is interrupted by the events of the week.  Tufts University is closed today while law enforcement officials pursue suspects in Monday’s crime.  Admissions staffers will try to keep up with your questions by email.

I want to revisit the terrific positive spirit that usually surrounds the Boston Marathon.  Our two-year Admissions intern and friend, Hillary, took pictures from the post where she and other Boston-area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers distribute water at each year’s event.  Here’s a photo that another RPCV took of Hillary.

Hillary

And then there’s the spirit that accompanied the unexpected events of the day.  This article features Brennan Mullaney, MALD student.  Maybe Brennan was your interviewer if you visited last fall!

Brennan

In such a strange week, I’m grateful for my long connection to Fletcher and all the fantastic students, such as Brennan and Hillary, who make every day interesting.  As Dean Bosworth wrote to the community earlier this week:

Yesterday’s events remind us, in an all too poignant and tragic fashion, of the important work that lies ahead for all of you (and us) in advancing Fletcher’s mission of understanding and mutual respect, and making our interdependent world more safe and secure.

We look forward to resuming Fletcher’s mission on Monday.

 

I’m writing at about 10:30, the time when Fletcher starts to buzz each day.  There were students in Mugar Café when I grabbed my coffee at 10, and I’ve already met with a visitor.  In other words, Fletcher is back to normal.  But it’s hard for me to have the blog ignore what happened yesterday and carry on as usual.  I think I’ll hold off one more day before returning to more admissions-ish topics.

For now, I’ll acknowledge that yesterday was a sad day indeed.  Patriots’ Day, with the annual running of the Boston Marathon, is generally a happy day.  Whether we know someone running the race or not, we celebrate this long-lived event and its annual demonstration of athleticism, perseverance, and strength of will.

Today, while we keep those wounded by the attack in mind, for most of us it’s a sunny day like many others, at least at the surface.  Our lovely Boston, and its surrounding cities such as Somerville and Medford, is the home of a million people and the temporary home of thousands and thousands of students.  Yesterday we experienced a temporary discontinuity in our easy love of this beautiful city.  Today, we’re back to express our affection for our interesting, historical, international, diverse, intellectual, technological, fun home.  Those of you who live nearby know that Boston is already moving forward.  Those of you who are farther away should know that this is a strong place that will not be defined by a single event, however sad.

Finally, a word about the University’s response.  With a large number of runners in the Tufts Marathon Team, there was an intense effort to ensure the well-being of all students and members of the community.  Two students, not from Fletcher, were injured but are reported to be recovering.  The University arranged transportation from Boston to the Medford campus, and notified us of its availability through the excellent emergency notification system that has been in place for several years.  Fletcher students, many having experienced emergencies in other locations, quickly established a mechanism to account for each other.  An interfaith gathering took place on campus last night, and students and staff have learned of the availability of counseling.  All in all, a quick and thorough response to the events, which makes us proud to be part of Tufts.

Boston viewArial view of the Medford/Somerville campus and Boston skyline, with Fletcher near the bottom right corner, taken by photographer Steve Eliopoulos for Tufts University.

 

What started out as a lovely cool and sunny marathon day has ended with sadness.  Blog readers might want to know that all Fletcher runners have been heard from.  Students established a google doc on which they reported back about themselves or on classmates they have heard from.  The Tufts University Medical Center is attending to many of the wounded, and the University is working to contact all Tufts runners.

Thank you to friends around the world who are thinking of Boston right now.

 

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