Dear Class of 2020

Dear Class of 2020,

Your Spectrum editor graciously offered to include a note from me in your special graduation issue. It is an offer I greatly appreciate, because I suspect that I am just as disappointed as you are about the current turn of events. 

It goes without saying that these are unprecedented times. None of us expected to be spending the second half of the spring semester away from campus. But as much as it breaks my heart to have everyone gone, it is the right thing to do for the health of our community.

That said, I am certainly going to be thinking of all of you during what would have been senior week and commencement weekend. Sometimes, I think I enjoy those events more than you do. I love the senior dance and the family dinner dance. I love the chance to celebrate with you and to meet your families. I love the pomp and circumstance of the commencement exercises and the well-deserved pride on your faces and those of your families and teachers. 

The good news is that there will be on-ground commencement ceremonies as soon as it is safe to do so. The commencement planning committee and I have been meeting regularly with your class leaders, and we are committed to providing a memorable celebration with as many activities as possible. We are going to celebrate! 

In the meantime, I will be thinking of you often and remembering the joy you brought over the past four years — whether it was a concert, play or dance recital; sporting event; dinner to commemorate your leadership in student government or as a student ambassador; a Greek Life event or a fundraiser — I will be thinking of your impact on our special community.

Every single one of you has made a difference while you were here. So many of you took to heart the advice that I gave you at freshman convocation — to take advantage of your opportunities and to be curious. You have studied abroad, tutored and mentored underprivileged children, raised money for worthy causes, fed the hungry at Thanksgiving and Christmas, went on service learning trips, held the doors open, supported one another on a daily basis — and so much more. 

Thank you all for everything you have done. In so many ways you have given to us through your involvement. The fabric of the university clearly has been enhanced by your presence.

Good luck as you complete your classes and take your finals. Good luck with your job search or graduate school applications. And until we meet again, please keep one another in your prayers and stay in touch with your SHU family.

I will miss you. Continue to be curious because you are always a Pioneer. God bless you.

Dr. P

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