Dear members of our university community,
The end of the spring semester has arrived, and there is so much to celebrate. Mass vaccinations continue at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, with nearly 29,000 vaccines dispensed since the drive began April 5. Our first in-person commencements since 2019 have already begun, with many more ceremonies set for this week and next week. Campus is full of activity as faculty, staff and students complete papers, projects and exams, capping a historic academic year.
As we dedicate ourselves to these efforts, however, we are only too aware of ongoing troubling news. Though the trial of Derek Chauvin ended with a guilty verdict, wrenching accounts of more shootings of Black people continue, as do mass shootings and hate crimes against Asian people. Many in our community are profoundly impacted by this drumbeat of troubling news.
As we complete this academic year, I would like to reaffirm one of our most deeply held values at the University of Florida: We are a supportive community that cares about each other and that serves a common good. Although I believe this has always been our character at UF, it was set into writing in January as part of the university’s core values determined by representatives from across UF. You may review those six core values, which include the values of inclusion and community, here: https://president.ufl.edu/media/presidentufledu/documents/UF-Core-Values.pdf .
If you see or hear of someone who is struggling or having difficulty, I urge you to reach out to support or to find them help. As we take care to look out for one another, our university also stands ready to assist. I urge students experiencing emotional or mental hardships to contact U Matter We Care at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 352-294-CARE (2273). Faculty and staff in need may contact the UF Employee Assistance Program at 833-306-0103.
I would also like to reaffirm another UF core value: We are committed to pushing our campus, community and the world forward. I believe we will make this a reality not only through our teaching, research, scholarship, discovery and innovation, but also by caring for one another and loving one another in the best tradition of our shared humanity. I hope you will join me in personifying this personal leadership in caring compassion amid both all the troubling news and all the reasons for hope and optimism as we move through the pandemic.
Students, faculty and staff, we have persisted through a once-in-a-century pandemic, and we have done so together. Whatever challenges face our community and university in the future, we will again overcome them, together. I wish you the best for completing this historic academic year and for great success in whatever your next step may be.
University of Florida