For a few magical weeks in 2002, the eyes of the world will be focused on Utah, Salt Lake City, and the University of Utah. One of the few true worldwide events, the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Games will open our campus to more than 2,000 athletes, 9,000 members of the international media, tens of thousands of spectators from around the globe, and more than three billion television viewers. This is an unprecedented time in the U's long history, one I hope alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends will fully embrace.
The physical impact of the Games on the University campus will be unmistakable. Rooms that usually house students will become the temporary home for NHL players, figure skaters, and even the new IOC President, Jacques Rogge from Belgium, as thousands of athletes and officials turn our residence halls into the Athletes Village. Rice-Eccles Stadium, which only last month held cheering fans and football players, will soon hold Swiss bobsledders, Austrian skiers, Russian skaters, and Canadian curlers during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The Alumni House will transform itself into "Germany House" as the German National Olympic Committee leases the building to serve as its center of activities for the Games. And the Olympic Cauldron, unveiled and lit during the Opening Ceremonies, will rise from the southwest corner of the stadium, serving as a landmark for the entire city during the Games.
Such places and symbols of
unity have become even more important in light of the recent terrorist
attacks and subsequent international events. The Olympic movement has
always stood for the promotion of world peace, and the continuation of
the Games is a powerful statement to the world that this principle remains
intact. International visitors will come, countries will participate and
the world will not be held captive by fear.
In addition, the magazine
will showcase University events that are part of the Cultural Olympiad,
a celebration of the arts connected to the Games, as well as alumni who
have participated in past Olympic Games in various roles. Many departments
throughout the U are involved with the Games in unique ways, and a few
are profiled here. We also answer some frequently asked logistical questions
regarding parking, transportation, and the academic schedule, among others,
in a special version of Gazette.
Those students now taking
classes in the midst of a campus filling with international visitors and
media have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enhance their learning
by experiencing, up close, the global community of which they are a part.
As alumni, we can be ambassadors to that international community, welcoming
the world to our world, the University of Utah. I invite you to share
in that experience, one that will forever change the place of the University
in the global community.