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Letter from the President

I was born a poor, clueless Mundane. While my parents both read voraciously, science fiction is not one of their areas of interest. Thus, I was forced to find Fandom on my own, and did so at the age of 13. I reveled in the fact that at a con I was hardly ever labeled "the strangest guy in the room", and was delighted to discover that there was a subculture of people where a significant percentage of the population was SMARTER than I was. These were people I could talk to, and (mostly) not have their eyes glaze over - people with whom I could share my love of science, and science fiction. People I could LEARN from. As the years rolled by, I discovered the joy of being a gopher, a staff member, and a department head, volunteering at every con I attended in some capacity or another. Then one night, a drunken binge and a bad poker hand brought me to be - a Con Chair.

Since I was going to do the job anyway, I wanted to construct a theme under which the best of fandom would be represented. What I, and many others I've spoken to, seem to enjoy most about cons is the sense of community. Not just shared interests, but a willingness to teach others about our specialized areas of knowledge, and a willingness to learn new things. Just like a University, Science, Art, Music, Literature, Technology, and the Performing Arts are all a part of Cons. Just like a University, people come to socialize, and learn, and teach, and explore. The more I thought about it, the more the similarities became apparent, and I thought of how much more fun college would have been if the whole school were fen. So I recruited a group of very talented people, and asked them to help me create and execute this concept - the University of Fandom.

We've invited Authors, Scientists, Musicians, Artists, and Craftspeople of all kinds to come and teach us about what they do. We've put together some innovative programming designed to challenge and educate, but all in an atmosphere of fun and relaxation. We'd like YOU to come and be a part of it - to learn, to teach, or just to come and enjoy the environment, have fun, and socialize with friends. We'll try to ensure that something interesting is always going on, without running you ragged.

A final note... All of the work done to create this event is done by volunteers. Some folks spend hundreds of hours of their personal time over the course of the year, and then work the con as well. Other folks willingly contribute during the con, giving their valuable time so that others can enjoy the event that much more. UFAN's faculty and staff were chosen for their desire and ability to be efficient problem-solvers, and have been empowered to find solutions to issues within their sphere of responsibility. Please be kind to ALL of these volunteers, and treat them with respect, remembering that without their selfless work the event doesn't happen at all! If you DO feel the need to chew someone's tail about something, MY ample rear is available for your masticating pleasure.

I look forward to seeing you on campus!

Greg "Guido" Williams
President, University of Fandom
Chair, Capricon 26

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