In April, our University Counselling Office was invited to New York City by NYU to hear a presentation on its new campus in Abu Dhabi. NYU already has satellite campuses in 9 other locations, including Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, London, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Shanghai, or Tel Aviv. This one, though, is different. Opening to undergraduates in September of 2010, it is funded by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, is powerfully endowed, and its vision is to be one of the top twenty universities in the world by 2020. The university is currently recruiting students, and the visit of Greg Marchand, our Director of University Counselling, to NYU was part of this recruiting process. NYU at Abu Dhabi had identified seventy-five of the top schools in North America who also had a global orientation and who might therefore consider it a good idea to open these international doors to their students. True, one might be closer to the history and traditions of Islam and the rest of the Middle East if you went to study in Jordan, or Lebanon, or Syria, or Iran. As adjustments go, however, Abu Dhabi will provide a less radical transition to the Middle East. Abu Dhabi is cosmopolitan; it is just about exactly on the eastern horn of the Arabian peninsula, a gateway to the Middle East. English is widely spoken in Abu Dhabi, and English will be the language of instruction at the university. The university’s endowment will make it possible, financially, for any student to attend who is accepted, covering shortfalls for the purposes of travel and accommodation, among other things. They have been inundated with applicants to teach there.
The Director of Admissons for this programme is Renee Duggan, a graduate of SMUS of 1990. She was here back at the school giving a presentation on NYU at Abu Dhabi last night.
At the Spring Fair a few weeks ago we had dozens of volunteers out making the event a success. Next week we will be acknowledging the efforts of our Annual Fund Volunteers, who are responsible for reaching the ambitious goal of $888,888 (up from $750,000 last year) – as I write this we aren’t actually at the goal, but we are close enough, with enough promises in hand that I believe everyone will see that last “star” filled in on the Annual Fund Chart outside the Middle and Junior Schools. On Monday night, my wife, Joan and I welcomed to Reynolds House another host of volunteers who do everything from pizza lunches to library help to used uniform sales. People giving of their time, and people giving of their resources: it only happens in a place where there is a powerful belief in the future, and what it offers for the students that give the place life. We do believe that our students are the best students anywhere, and it is wonderful to see this belief affirmed both at home and abroad, as far away as Abu Dhabi.