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Days from now, 2020 will be behind us. I look forward to turning the calendar page as much as you do.

I also recognize that 2021’s arrival won’t magically wash away struggle and pain in our world. We see glimmers of hope. Yet we know there’s hardship ahead. And even when we eradicate COVID-19, people will still face obstacles and injustices no one should endure or confront alone.

This is why a university like ours exists: to transform human beings ready and eager to help the world heal and flourish.

Thank you all for working so hard these last many months to protect yourselves, protect others and protect this institution. What you have helped UWO achieve and preserve is remarkable. I will make certain no one forgets your service and sacrifice.

Tomorrow, at 9:30 a.m., the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will graduate more than 1,000 students. We will commemorate and celebrate their achievements before they dash off to staff hospitals, lead classrooms, grow businesses, serve country, continue studies and undertake a host of other creative, selfless and noble pursuits. What a prescription for a better future! To those of you graduating, we offer our most sincere congratulations.

I wish you all safety, health, happiness and peace in these waning weeks of 2020.

Because of you all, I am grateful and hopeful.


This post was originally sent via email to UWO students, faculty and staff on Dec. 18, 2020.