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A Commencement Address for All of Us

Updated: May 19, 2021

What a year.

Commencement is this weekend. What’s true every year rings especially true now: we wouldn’t be here without you. A University is its people. As faculty and academic staff, we are KU’s foundation. Our resilience, effort, and ingenuity have been on display this year, in ways big and small.

Many pivoted their research to COVID-related issues. We all changed our courses to meet the pandemic’s restrictions, finding creative ways to hold lectures online, run laboratories with social distancing, and engage students. We managed to keep enrollments high and continue KU’s progress on 4 and 6 year graduation rates. We mentored students who are doing award-winning research and showcasing what’s special about us on a national stage. We’ve guided graduate students as they retooled projects for a changing job landscape.

Thanks to all the cat butts that graced our Zoom screens. Congrats on turning the only closet in your quirky East Lawrence home into a fully functioning office. Cheers to the discovery that, even with all the weirdness of pontificating from home while lawns are mowed in the background, giving conference papers in house slippers is pretty awesome. Shout out to the joint degree programs the parents amongst us have supervised from the Arendelle School of Performing Arts, Minecraft Technical College, and Tik Tok Film Academy. You’ve mastered the journal function in Blackboard, well done—but we’re switching to Canvas next year. On top of all of that, you’ve also found time to read this. You have made the effort to increase your community involvement; possibly also to sign petitions, join groups, and speak out against a set of administrative practices that don’t serve us. In the words of KU’s alma mater, we are lifting the chorus ever onward. And we are so grateful to be doing this work alongside you.

Here’s to building a better, stronger KU.

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