Spring 2021

    Welcome back to UNC-CH students, even though we resume in remote mode. It’s been a week, with historic events punctuating the long-distance shuffling of classes during a later than usual kick-off to the year. This semester, I am more heavily engaged in undergraduate instruction than in recent years and what I am finding in the hearts and minds of these young adults is heartening. Resilience, gratitude, respect, purpose – it’s all there. Sure, there is isolation, fatigue, frustration, and fear for what it all means. But the combination is heady. It is the stuff of hope. And the fuel to put hands to work in making a difference. I know there is concern about the role of colleges and (for some) college students in the spread of the pandemic, particularly for those living in college towns. Recognizing these concerns, the failied and successful attempts of institutions to respond, the responsible acts of some and irresponsible acts of others – in other words, taking that all into account – I get it. Yet, I believe. I believe in these students. I trust in their vision of the world they want to build. I have faith that the lesssons of the pandemic and surging racial tensions of the past year will not be lost to the past as they craft our future. And if I can play even a small role in constructing the bridge that takes them from here to there, I’m all in.

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