On Saturday, we will host a virtual celebration to honor TU’s 145th class of graduates. In a truly extraordinary moment in the life of our university, we will gather remotely with our students, their families, friends and their faculty and mentors. While this celebration is not in lieu of a live commencement ceremony to be held at a future date, we will usher our graduates into the next step of their lives in the same manner as their final year was completed – being with them where they are, from where we are. The celebration will kick off Saturday with the Final Bell Ceremony at 10 a.m. (Central) at TUAlumni.com/FinalBell and will be followed by a series of other events throughout the day.
Our superb faculty have armed our new graduates with the knowledge and critical thinking skills that enable them to succeed in the next phase of their lives. Just as importantly, you have equipped our students with a problem-solving and lifelong-learning mindset that allows them to pivot, innovate and succeed in this fast-changing world.
At the same time, our outstanding staff have ensured as rich and rewarding a collegiate experience as any student could hope for. Thank you for the coaching, counseling and advising you provided. Thank you for keeping our technology humming, recruiting the class of 2024 and ensuring our alumni are engaged and supportive.
Our 847 graduates include nine veterans, a Goldwater Scholar, two Fulbright Scholars, three Gilman Scholars and a Schweitzer Fellow. We know that many students are going on to graduate school, including those who will pursue advanced degrees in public policy, law, educational and clinical psychology, mental health counseling and medicine. The 29 new nurses we have educated have accepted jobs at Ascension St. John, Saint Francis and Hillcrest as well as hospitals outside the state – in addition to 13 new nurse practitioners – all of whom are prepared to join in the fight against COVID-19.
Thank you for everything you have done since we moved to virtual operations on March 11. We are living in a world we couldn’t have imagined four months ago. You have responded by continuing to put our students first. The example you set will serve them well for the duration of this pandemic and for the rest of their lives. Your shared sacrifice, professionalism and strength of character represent the best of TU. I am so proud to call each one of you my colleague.
Individually and collectively, we will be called on to continue our hard work – and we will grapple with more hard decisions – as we support the continuum of our classes. For today, though, let’s remember our strengths, reflect on the profound difference we make in the lives of our students and celebrate the vital contributions our new alumni will make to our community and society.
Janet K. Levit