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“Vote for the party and candidate of your choice, but by all means vote.”

A letter from Dean Jennifer Widom

Dear School of Engineering graduate students, 


During this unusual year, I’m finding it’s more important than ever to have regular communication with individuals throughout the School of Engineering. In September I established monthly letters to graduate students, to share what’s on my mind and help make sure you’re aware of important developments at the school.

As many of you know, our mission in the School of Engineering is to conduct groundbreaking research that addresses a broad range of pressing world problems, and to educate future leaders like you to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The research and classroom work you’re doing as graduate students are essential components of achieving that mission. At the same time, I want to encourage you to address the many challenges the world is facing in another important way: by participating in civic life. 

I encourage all of our students to engage in discussions and activities with the communities in which you are living, whether it is on campus or many time zones away. And for those of you who are eligible to vote in the upcoming election, I urge you to do so. (In many states early voting has already begun, and in some states there is still time to register.) In September, I joined the deans of Stanford’s other two undergraduate degree-granting schools, Debra Satz of Humanities & Sciences, and Stephan Graham of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences, in writing this op-ed for the Stanford Daily that addresses the importance of voting in our elections as a means to improve our society and the world. As we conclude in that piece, I encourage you to “vote for the party and candidate of your choice, but by all means vote.”

President Tessier-Lavigne recently sent a note to the entire Stanford community where he also encouraged voting, while addressing many other aspects of the election season and the broad university population; I encourage you to read it here.

I hope your quarter is going well despite the many challenges. The faculty and staff of the School of Engineering are deeply committed to doing everything we can to ensure your success, and we are all heartened by the flexibility and adaptability you have shown. Thank you for that, and above all, for doing all that you can to stay safe and help protect the health of those around you. 

Jennifer Widom