The end of this year has felt a bit rocky for some of us and so, looking ahead to the new year, we thought it would be nice to focus on some positive thoughts. Through our work on UConn Magazine, we have met many people on campus and otherwise connected to the University. We reached out to some of those wise sources to ask what they were hopeful about in the coming year. Many of their names are linked to recent coverage in the magazine; others you’ll have to look for in future editions!
“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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
Raymond and Beverly Sackler Assistant Professor of Genetics and Genome Sciences, Farmington
“I’m hopeful when I look at my students, who are amazing. When I asked them this question, they told me they believe that 2017 will be a year of tough but ultimately productive conversations about gender, race, power, and identity. That makes me hopeful.”
Associate professor and writing coordinator, Avery Point
“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.
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.”
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.”
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
Geology professor, 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 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.”
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!”
Associate vice president and chief diversity officer, 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.”
Director, Stamford Campus