Stanford Report Online

Stanford Report, September 27, 2000
'You were smart enough not to turn Stanford down'

This is the prepared text of the address given by Angela Castillo, head orientation coordinator, at Opening Convocation Sept. 22, 2000.

Welcome Class of 2004 and transfers to Stanford University. It is great to see all of you here today. You finally made it to college. I'd also like to welcome parents, families and friends to Stanford's 2000 New Student Orientation.

As you probably all have discovered by now, Stanford's nickname is "The Farm." Throughout my four years at Stanford, I found this nickname comforting because, as my friends can tell you, I am a country girl at heart -- and y'all are going to have to forgive me for sounding like a country bumpkin at times!

Anglela Castillo

(photo: L.A. Cicero)

Before coming to Stanford, I lived in Wetmore, a small Colorado town that consists of two restaurants and a post office. We have a volunteer fire department that my dad joined, and a library my mother helped start. And that's it.

When I first got here, I felt a little out of place in my new surroundings. I was afraid that after one year I would end up back home because I couldn't make it out in the world and at Stanford University.

Some of you may be thinking this right now, and all of you will probably be thinking it after finals week. Put this thought out of your mind. Don't ever think it again. All of you belong here -- and you were smart enough not to turn Stanford down.

Look around you. All the students you will meet at Stanford will amaze you because not only are they smart, but great athletes, entrepreneurs, artists, engineers -- you name it and Stanford students are it. On top of that many of you will still find time to serve your new community by giving your time and talents to help others. You all belong here and will do great things inside and outside of the classroom.

Your first year at Stanford is very exciting. There are always a million things to do, like exploring San Francisco with your new friends, finding out about great opportunities on campus, watching Stanford club and varsity teams and being challenged in the classroom.

My freshman year in Junipero was incredible. I had a lot of fun and made friends that I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life. However, there were a few times when all I wanted was my mom and her beef stew. I had to adjust to the fact that my parents were no longer right there to help or see my achievements and disappointments. I actually missed sharing toothpaste with my family once I realized I was stuck with the same flavor for about three months! You have to make little changes like buying smaller tubes of toothpaste.

And parents, you, too, will have to adjust. The bills you pay will cover tuition, food, shelter and the best education money can buy. The dining halls will give students meals, which really are pretty good. The residence halls will provide safe places for your sons and daughters to stay. Professors, friends and advisers will share their wealth of knowledge with your children.

After all this, you may ask yourselves, like my parents did, "What is left to do besides pay the bills?"

Well, I'll tell you what this college kid needed the most: continual reassurance of my parents' love. But I also needed something more: I needed to know they saw me as a responsible adult and let me make my own decisions and mistakes. I think this was the hardest part. As we said our goodbyes on my first day of orientation four years ago, I could see it in my mother's eyes and hear it in my father's voice. Even though I was going out in the world without them nearby, they still saw me as a little girl in their hearts.

Well, before I get too emotional, I would like to thank all the people responsible for what you are going to see in the next few days.

Thank you to our great group of head orientation volunteers, and orientation volunteers who contribute immensely to the fantastic week you are about to experience.

Thanks to the community coordinators and community orientation volunteers who have been busy preparing for the community events.

A big thank you to Joe Narens and Nikki Sickles at the New Student Information Project for their help throughout the summer.

Thank you to the Undergraduate Advising Center hotline for fielding many of your academic questions.

And finally, I would like to thank my fellow orientation coordinators Sandra Liu, Lindsay Arnold and Cruz Caldera; our program coordinator, Karyn Bechtel; and our director, Susan Tomaro. These are the people who were so central in the planning and organization of this week's activities. Thank you for all for your hard work this summer and for the work yet to come in the next few days.

Before I finish, I want to make sure I covered the main points:

Freshman and transfers, you guys are great. I hope you are as excited as I am that you are here at Stanford University. Orientation week will be stunning, and have a wonderful time at Leland Stanford Junior University.

And, parents, don't worry, your kids will be fine.

It has been a pleasure and a great honor speaking to all of you today. Before I close, I am fortunate to have one last honor, and that is to introduce Stanford's new president.

John Hennessy came to Stanford in 1977 as a faculty member in electrical engineering. As a teacher, Professor Hennessy has been extremely highly regarded by his students. He also started a Silicon Valley company a few years back that was a great success. But he realized that his first love was Stanford University and he returned and eventually became chairman of the Department of Computer Science and dean of the School of Engineering.

In 1999 Professor Hennessy became provost and just three weeks ago today he became Stanford's 10th president. I would now like to introduce the president of Stanford University, John Hennessy.