It's a bright but gusty day at Olin. Snowbanks slowly sink in the sunshine, but the air still cuts with winter's chill. It's quiet on campus. The students and faculty are away on their spring breaks. The staff still hum along. But the quietness belies an undercurrent of tension. It's the home stretch for so many: seniors, about to complete their time at Olin; candidates, awaiting the notification that will help them choose their future; Admission staff, eagerly anticipating the official announcement of the name of our new Dean. It's been a long journey getting here, and it's hard not to feel a little nostalgic.
For Olin's graduating class of 2015, the story starts four or five years ago, in 2011 for some, 2010 for others. Twelve students graduating this year initially enrolled after taking a gap year. More joined the class after taking semesters off over the course of their time at Olin. It was a time of upheaval - due to the financial crash, the scholarship had been dialed back from full- to half-tuition. They were joining a student body that had just barely been at Olin concurrent with someone who had been at Olin concurrent with the original partners (who founded the honor code and set the culture). '06 to '09, '09 to '12, and '12 to '15. All this matters a great deal when the community is looking at them to see how you are going to contribute to the student body, though they didn't know it yet.
They arrived in the Fall of 2011, fresh-faced and eager. They were ready to, as the Honor Code they signed mandates, 'Do Something.'
Preparing to become exemplary engineering innovators who recognize needs, design solutions and engage in creative enterprises for the good of the world.
Since then, members of this class have revolutionized academic teams, founded social justice programs, earned outstanding accolades, started businesses, and led conversations that have shaped the way this college operates at every level. Without a doubt, they stepped up to the challenge of 'leaving their mark', and knocked it out of the park. Olin's buildings may have been built long before the class of 2015 arrived. But our tiny college is still very much under construction, and it's every Oliner's privilege to have an impact.