In all of my conversations, it was abundantly clear that we are a community that cares deeply about our university and our role in shaping the future of the communities we are so proud to serve. And while our collective pride in what we have accomplished to date was plainly evident, I also heard an eagerness for direction, a need to find common ground, and a deep desire to take our collective work to the next level.
The creation of a unified vision is a course that I intend for us to chart, together. Your input over these 100 days of listening and learning are the foundational first steps in this process and have provided the focus of our efforts going forward.
Starting this fall, we will build on your feedback and these themes, and begin a robust effort in visioning for our collective future. Together, we will create a roadmap and work together to define our priorities, which advance a bright future for the university we all love. Your ongoing input and creative thinking throughout this process will ensure that we envision the future that we, our students, and our communities deserve for generations to come.
Considering the magnitude of the challenges we have faced this past year, it may be difficult to imagine a brighter, more equitable future. We have navigated a once-in-a-century global pandemic, a racial reckoning, and devastating acts of violence against many members of our communities of color. Some of you may have lost loved ones, are experiencing the differential impact of this pandemic as a caregiver, or suffered other personal impacts. My heart goes out to each and every one of you as we continue to look for ways that we can best support you. Yet, despite all of the challenges, we have stood firmly in our values of equity and justice, continued to advance knowledge in service of the common good, and ensured that our students had the educational opportunities they need for a brighter post-pandemic world.
Rising in the face of challenge is what we do. Over the course of my discussions in these first few months, I heard countless examples of our resilience and transformation following adversity. From The Storm at Valley State to the 1994 earthquake and the sharp pivot to virtual learning last year, transformation following tragedy is part of our DNA.
After listening to you all, I am more confident than ever that we are the leaders society needs to advance social and economic mobility, spark innovation, diversify future talent, uplift cultures, solve wicked challenges, and lead the transformation of higher education into the future. I am incredibly proud to serve an academic community that is collaborative, innovative, compassionate, and inclusive, and I look forward to the journey ahead as we continue to transform individual lives, family trees, and entire communities, forevermore.