As each of you moves ahead in life, I hope that you ask yourself “what have I learned this year?” (not only from MBU’s outstanding professors and dedicated staff) but also from living through this pandemic. What have you learned about mass protests, police brutality, law enforcement reform … about how to work for both justice and peace? What have you learned about combating hate and racism … and working to eliminate — or at least reduce — mass shootings? What have you learned about how to judiciously sift through diverse media sources to glean the truth?
Whether your future includes working as a healthcare manager or provider, a counselor or clinical psychologist, a business owner or leader, an environmental scientist, an astrophysicist, a law enforcement leader or researcher, a school teacher or principal, a mediator or diplomat, or a social worker (to name only a percentage of your collective goals) … I believe that you will seek to embody the spirit of Mary Julia Baldwin … that each one of you will be resilient, strong, and courageous while fighting against all forms of harassment and discrimination and bravely facing the inevitable set-backs and challenges to come.
You will recognize and affirm the human dimensions of work-life and organizations. You will pay heed to and honor the ethical commitments you have made both in your personal and professional or career life.
In the spirit of your alma mater, you will not only graciously acknowledge and accept help from friends, family, and many others, but you will also find ways to be compassionate and reach out to those who are vulnerable, hurting, and sorely in need. This too is a part of what it means to be a Mary Baldwin graduate.
I know you will continue to learn and grow beyond your bachelor’s degree because that’s what I’ve seen Mary Baldwin graduates do for the past forty-plus years.
And, finally — no matter what your major, career, or GPA — may you tap into your reservoir of faith, hope, and vision — to peacefully, but persistently — challenge deep-rooted divisions, injustices, and inequities around this world.
My heartfelt congratulations to each and every one of you …