This time of year is always one of pride for those of us who work and teach here. This year, that pride is leavened with the most sincere and heartfelt gratitude. Last August, I sent an opening day message to all of you asking for your commitment and cooperation so we could remain open for business and on campus for the entirety of the academic year. Many colleges were not able to do this. Because you adhered to the health and safety guidelines, because you went through testing and vaccinations, and most challenging of all, because you sacrificed many social gatherings and activities, Siena was able to provide an uninterrupted on-campus, in-class experience for everyone who wanted one.
This year’s lessons transcended the classroom and transformed who we are and who we will become. We have all gained special insight and experience – the importance of looking out for each other and sacrificing for the common good; for putting a higher goal in our sights. We took to heart the importance of flexibility and of adaptability; we honored the science that led to the treatment of COVID and the vaccination against it, as well as the prayer and camaraderie that helped sustain us and our friends and family. Because we led by putting others first – as true Siena Saints do – we are finishing on a tremendous high with many of the activities and events that define the Education for a Lifetime taking place live and in-person. We are stronger today as a result of what we have overcome and accomplished together.
This year wasn’t all about the pandemic. In a nation that is riven by social and political divide, our campus united in strengthening the bonds of racial justice, and keeping the lines of dialogue on a variety of issues open and active. We shared our stories, and we listened to the stories of others – that is the basis of understanding and healing.
Thank you again for your commitment to the health and safety of our community, and congratulations on the success of this academic year. For all of these reasons, this year, I am particularly proud to call myself a Siena Saint.