Speeches & Writings

A Happy, Healthy New Year!

Dear Washington University community,

As the first week of the new semester comes to a close, I want to welcome the entire WashU community back to the rich experience of in-person teaching, research, and scholarship that makes this place so special. For those of you who worked over the winter break caring for our campuses, our safety, our patients, and our people, thank you for all you do. I hope each of you were able to carve out some time for rest and relaxation over the holidays, and that you feel reinvigorated for the exciting work ahead. While I enjoyed the slower pace of the last few weeks, nothing compares to the energy that our students bring to our mission. It’s been a pleasure to reconnect with many of you during this first week of classes.

As we work together toward personal growth, new discoveries, and bold solutions, I know that each of us will encounter some challenges in the months ahead. Nothing great can be achieved without stretching ourselves, and we strive to provide a safe place to take intellectual and professional risks. That said, as we seek to advance our knowledge and our impact, it’s important to make sure we’re not stretching ourselves too thin – and I’ll be the first to admit, sometimes the line isn’t clear until it’s been crossed. Today, I remind you that in order to reach your full potential here at WashU, it’s important to prioritize your health and wellness. As Ovid wrote, “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”

We can’t add hours to the day, so prioritizing our health often requires us to make small, disciplined choices. But – good news! – there are many people and opportunities across both campuses that can support your wellness, whether you are a student, faculty, or staff member.

Students, if you haven’t yet registered with TimelyCare, our student mental telehealth partner, I encourage you to stop reading this now and do so. Even if you’re currently in a good place, it’s wise to be ready should you find yourself in need of support. The service is free for most students and is well-regarded by those students who’ve received care. And, as always, the staff at Habif Health and Wellness Center is ready to support a whole range of health and wellness concerns. If you haven’t visited their website in some time, I encourage you to check it out. You may be surprised by all they can offer, and we want nothing more than for our students to take advantage of the resource.

Staff and faculty, we’re here for you, too! The incredible suite of services available to promote your mental and physical health is growing all the time, and we are widely considered a leader in employee wellness. Beyond the programs that support healthy minds and bodies, our human resources team is ready and able to help you reduce stress by helping you reach your financial goals, achieve better balance, resolve workplace concerns, and support your career growth.

Finally, don’t forget to pause for moments of joy! Stop by Graham Chapel to take a quiet breather in the middle of a long day. Pop into the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum and be nourished by the creativity and beauty within. Hang a hammock under the ginkos and reread a favorite novel simply for pleasure. Invite a colleague to the MCC Kaldi’s for an hour of laughter and much-needed caffeine. And remember that one of the most important components of health and happiness is authentic relationships, so make time for those who matter to you, and reach out to those who may need a friend.

Students and colleagues, it’s an honor to begin again with you this semester. I look forward to witnessing your diligence, your brilliance, your passion, and your joy as you work to fulfill your incredible potential.


Andrew D. Martin