Monsters University is unlike any university website I’ve visited. Established in 1313 following a land grant from the city of Monstropolis, Monsters University has “grown from a small local center of learning to a leading global institution of higher education.” I particularly enjoyed this letter from President Victoria Gross:
While we have built a campus known for its diversity, academic disciplines and excellence, MU is also an institution that lives by its intellectual curiosity, as we foster a willingness to challenge what is blindly accepted, and seek what is quantitatively true. We are a unique group of educators and students who, by the rigors of exhaustive focus and effort, demand more from ourselves. Because excellence is a word that is not awarded by inclusion into this fabled institution, it’s a word that must be earned, protected, and treasured.
Our advancements in the academic fields of Scaring, Science, Engineering, and Business are, of course, now legendary. And the range of disciplines and their interrelationships throughout our campus has created a unique mix of intellectual and cultural perspectives, perspectives that not only define us, but drive us to be better.
At MU we also dedicate ourselves to ethical and responsible uses of financial, physical, and environmental resources. We continually remind ourselves to care for the fragile tapestry of our environment and to temper our needs for power with our desire to make our world a more sustainable place for all our future generations.
Our undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees ranging from Canister Design to Cognitive Neuroscience. Our graduates have gone on to shape our world in the fields of Power, Science, and Literature. And while the awards, patents, and accolades help to reinforce our goals, it is the pure impulse of intellectual desire that drives us.
Our interdisciplinary opportunities in molecular pharmacology and physiology, and our master’s program in acting and directing through the MU Repertory Consortium all have helped establish MU as one of the most diverse academic environments in the world.
But what really makes us special, what makes us unique, are the diverse groups of monsters that teach and learn in the halls of our beautiful campus. Monsters of all varieties, from the wide-eyed freshman just cutting his fangs to the seasoned post-grad student, create a diversity of culture that makes MU one of the most unique educational environments in the world.
I remember one particular student, freshly admitted into the Semantics department, who would gnash his mandibles wildly and swing his enormously spiked tail at the first provocation or challenge, no matter how insignificant. Little could be done to temper his behavior, and we all thought he would not last long under the rigors of MU’s difficult Semantics program. But years later, I was pleased to see him graduate and even more pleased when he approached me, a bit sheepishly, after graduation and told me this:
“There is a difference between being a Monster, and behaving monstrously.”
That difference is MU.
We are a place where learning is fluid and ever-changing, where the river of knowledge pushes us in unconventional and unexpected directions. Yet, we also remain anchored by the centuries of traditions that have proved essential in developing our academic foundations.
I am proud to belong to an academic community that continually pushes its students towards excellence, a community that is not content to rest on its past accomplishments but is ever looking forward to a future of new designs and possibilities.
And if you’ve never seen the cartoon, it’s worth it. One of my favorites.
(hat tip: @openculture)