My employer, Ecole Polytechnique, was established during the French Revolution, in 1794, by (among others) Gaspard Monge, the well known mathematician. It then became a military academy in 1804 under Napoleon I – and, even today, when most of our students have civil ambitions and careers, the institution remains under the French ministry of Defence, and our engineering students are military officers for the duration of their studies.
I tend to arrive in my office early in the morning, and at the beginning of the academic year I get a reminder of our military legacy, when new engineering students arrive on campus and are welcomed by our uniformed colleagues.
Incoming students spend their first few months under care of our uniformed colleagues, which for me as a teacher has innumerable advantages. For example, as illustrated, the consequences of punctuality (or rather: the absence thereof) are made very apparent.
Welcome to all of you, the X16 – you’re looking good, and I cannot wait to have you in my classes!