Day of Remembrance
California State University, Northridge

Friday, September 14, 2001
Oviatt Library

Remarks of President Jolene Koester


Good afternoon, and thank you for coming to participate in Cal State Northridge's Day of Remembrance ceremony
We are here today to commemorate the thousands of innocent Americans who died earlier this week, and to offer our deepest condolences to the countless others, here and across the country, who have been affected in so many ways by this tragedy.

As part of observances being held today at schools throughout the United States, U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige has asked that we in the educational community observe a moment of silence to recognize those who lost their lives this week. So please, join with me, Faculty President Michael Neubauer and Associated Students President Tari Hunter in taking a moment to pay our silent respects. (Pause for moment of silence).

Thank you very much.

On Tuesday, our world dramatically changed. It is impossible to comprehend the enormity of this tragedy, the losses that we have suffered, the wounds that have been inflicted on our collective psyche. Even though we in Los Angeles are thousands of miles away, every time we watch the gripping images on the news, we share in the pain and suffer the anguish. Indeed, these are the times that most strain our composure and fray our sense of respect and tolerance.

Yet let us look to the many touching examples of selfless sacrifice that are being demonstrated around the country. Volunteers are pouring in to the disaster sites in great numbers; donors are waiting in lines to give blood; and we have seen firefighters and police officers give their lives for others. I invite all of us to use these actions as models for our behavior.

As we move forward in the recovery and healing process, let us focus our energies on providing our most heartfelt support and sympathy to all those who have suffered losses. Many in the San Fernando Valley region, even some here at Cal State Northridge, have lost relatives and friends in this tragedy. I am sure you would all agree we should join in offering whatever assistance and support we can in this time of great sorrow.

We also are, I am proud to say, part of a great university community that promotes respect for all people, that values the richness of our diversity, and that honors the expression of differing views. Especially in these most trying times, the heritage of this institution demands that we honor those cherished values.

Because we hold these values, particularly in the days and weeks ahead, we should resist the impulse to judge people based on their appearance, their backgrounds, or how we may misperceive them. Cal State Northridge will tolerate nothing less in our university community.

In these most difficult of times, the greatest challenge each of us face, individually and as a community, is to be the best, most caring people we can be. Only by doing that will we all demonstrate to those around us and to the world what it truly means live in a country that is built on freedom, equality, and respect. Thank you.

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Sept. 2001