Yes, yes, yes! We made it through this semester – and not just made it but flourished! In unprecedented circumstances, we have seen heroic efforts on the part of students, faculty, staff, all of us.

I offer this video of blessings from the Fish Interfaith Center for our graduating students – and if you, like me, are just plain proud of our graduates and helped accompany them to this moment, these blessings are for you, too – please take them in, and pass them on.

I want to add that we know our graduates learned a lot from us and their Chapman experience. But I learned a lot from them, too. I was pleased to read the article President Struppa recommended in his Friday email briefing last week, in which author Atul Gawande lists 4 pillars that have to be upheld for successful societal reentry from COVID-19  isolation. He then states, “Culture is the fifth, and arguably the most difficult, pillar of a new combination therapy to stop the coronavirus.” The fifth pillar is about a culture of caring, where everyone takes responsibility.

I think a “culture of caring” might make a great fifth pillar added onto our intellectual, spiritual, physical and social pillars at Chapman. It certainly describes our graduating class of 2020 at Chapman University.

A culture of caring is one of the many things I have learned from our 2020 graduates. In these students, I observe the obvious ingenuity and commitment, but also what was invisible to me until getting to know them. I observe in them an innate attentiveness to one another and to societal needs. I used to think that in this moment of social media when no one picks up a phone to check on one another, that lonely individuals must always fall through the cracks. But I learned that Chapman students have an organic way of checking in with and taking care of one another. I also witness in them genuine care and passion for the planet. From refilled-water-bottle-carrying students I have learned many new ways to care for our environment. I could go on, but let me just say what I have learned from our graduates gives me great hope for the future.

Congratulations to all.