Brooklyn, New York
Senior Director of Academic Computing and Support, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
As you read this, I hope you are able to find some comfort, take heart, and be encouraged with a simple, yet profound notion.
I am reminded that art and artists (I use this term broadly.) are extremely important in times of unrest and crisis, such as now.
It is precisely by the act of creating and embodying one's inner vision—in whatever medium and by whatever means they are called—that artists (and all those in creative fields) counter fear, stasis, myopia, and depression that challenges everyone. It is the ability to envision something new, the practice of imagining and acting in new ways to accomplish our goals, and the discipline of repeatedly trying, failing, and re-trying that demonstrates to the world the possibilities that exist, that there are possibilities, and that there are other ways of thinking and acting in this moment. Creating is a form of generation and is life-giving, and that is your super power. Use it now. Share it with others.
I empathize with the anxiety and apprehensions you currently face. A tough deck of cards—a fact of life right now. You've completed an incredibly rigorous program that has primed you for limitless opportunity. Head high, I am excited for you!
Our class graduated in 2011, also a concerning time. My takeaways and suggestions:
Become an ACE in as many softwares as you possibly can (Revit, Navisworks, anything to enable the Architect/Engineer & Builder to more effectively collaborate).
Proficiency and fluency in software does NOT corner you into a specific type of work or production role. It is YOUR responsibility to navigate the circumstances of your passions, career, and positions you will take.
Acquaint yourself with the funding sources for the market sectors in our economy and more specifically, from WHERE will those funding sources originate. This will yield an understanding of where future architectural opportunities exist (for example, medical versus retail).
It was a very different time when I graduated in 1965, and it's hard to imagine what you are going through now, but I want to encourage you to keep on creating. Creating has uplifted me in so many ways and given me the inspiration to keep going. I remember times when I'd come home from my 9 to 5 job exhausted and would pick up my brush and get a whole new life. So don't let the current situation get you down. Pick up that brush or chisel or brayer or whatever you use and get renewed. We'll all get through this together and art will contribute to that in a big way.
Congratulations to all of you for getting this far. Keep on keeping on and stay safe.
My painting is called "Six Feet."
Brooklyn, New York
Events & Space Use Manager, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity
Be flexible! I knew making art would be hard, but I also knew that finding a job would be key (I could eat! Pay the rent! Go out sometimes!). My biggest piece of advice is to TALK TO PEOPLE! This is how you build your community. It can also be how you get really interesting jobs. I talked to a neighbor in NYC and ended up managing the office of the oldest printmaking studio in the country. From there, I kept in touch with one of the artists and worked for him. Then I worked for his dealer and became the director of her gallery for 18 years. Now I work managing all kinds of cultural events at St. Ann's like The Moth, book talks with Zadie Smith, Mona Eltahawy, DeRay Mckesson, and Steven King, concerts with Patti Smith, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, and theater projects with Theater of War. I love the work I do, and guess what—I still make art. I show sometimes and even sell sometimes! Keep going, but keep talking, too!
Sam Fox and I graduated in 1951!!! That year I was awarded the John T. Milliken Travel Scholarship, and Sam continued to excel in business and contribute to WashU. I feel it is important to realize that your education, along with your endeavors, were made possible primarily because of Sam Fox... He made 'things' happen! I am so sorry that you will not experience the usual graduation ceremony. It is certainly a major disappointment! However, you will be extremely proud to be a graduate of WashU.
Charlotte Obst Barbaresi
Personal Stylist, J. Hilburn
I am so sorry the end of your year was taken from you. I know you had big things planned, celebrations of all your hard work. You deserved that. I hope right now you are creating, using this time to further your art and explore the way you see the world. I hope you will share it with us. I would love to see your paintings, drawings, fashion, sculptures, photography. I want to see it all! Know that all of the alums are so proud of what you have achieved so far, and we know this experience will inform your creations in ways that you will come to see as wonderful in time. You will come out stronger; we all will. Wishing you health and happiness!
Associate, David Baker Architects
Don't fret, 2020. Challenges present unique opportunities for design! You are all now equipped to help and to make the world a better, more efficient, and more equitable place for all. Consider this time a call for action!
Be proud, be patient, and congratulations! I am excited to see your contributions start to take root!
Congratulations on your having achieved the status of graduate. I know from my own experience way back in 1960 that it was an arduous goal. At that time, the "inmates" of Givens were struggling to complete their thesis projects including multiple "all-nighters" but miraculously most everyone managed to put together the necessary documentation to finish. At the time, the technology was T-squares, triangles, pen and ink, handmade models, as opposed to the highly computerized processes you currently use. Now, you can be confident that you have received the most advanced tools to enable you to enter professional practice that Washington University and your seasoned professorial staff have enabled. Best wishes for you and your potential contribution to the field of architecture.
Brooklyn, New York
Artists have a "Sense of Invention," and today, need as well a philosophy of "Expecting the Unexpected!" As a 1965 WashU graduate with a BFA in painting, I recommend remaining open to new technology and adapting to re-education to develop new skills. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to study U4ia, a CAD program originally developed for aeronautical texture mapping (and also, in conjunction, Photoshop) in order to utilize these skills towards a career in textile print design! As an offshoot idea, I stacked up in CAD programs my ink drawings of wild plants from the Hawthorne Conservation Area to create, in gouache watercolor, a new approach towards paintings, which to my surprise, were juried into exhibitions at The State Capital in Pennsylvania, The Watercolor Honor Society in Springfield, The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, and Salmagundi, in New York City.
Best of luck to Washington University graduates!
Dear Class of 2020,
I have been in mostly "stay home" life since January this year because of the challenging time. My biggest take away from it is that we can't be isolated by physical distance or barrier; we are eager to connect with others. And nothing could be more cheerful than getting a greeting from a friend or family living far everyday. Please stay strong and support your loved ones, as well as yourself. At the end of the crisis, we will be even closer to each than anytime before.
I'm proud to be a graduate from Sam Fox School, and my friends and professors since then have always been supporting me in many situations. Same to all of you! I will be here if you need any help.
Best wishes and congratulations to your coming graduation!
My graduating class ('06) entered the job market during a recession that hit the field of architecture particularly hard. Luckily, our design education at WashU was so well rounded and process-based that it prepared us to enter an uncertain market with skills and perspectives students from other universities didn't have. And while my class did have a graduation ceremony, when you remember or draw on you time at WashU, a sweltering day wearing a black polyester robe to mark your accomplishment isn't what will be important to your success. It's what you will do with your education that matters. So congratulations, Class of 2020. What will help you through this and will make you successful after this you already carry with you.
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles Program Director, ProjectArt
I am the LA Program Director for ProjectArt. We, like so many, took our content online. One of my teachers didn't skip a beat and started Zoom classes with his teens. I joined in, and it was a wonderful meditative experience, and I'm so glad the bond with his students has not faded. I hope you know you will always have the bond of your fellow classmates, regardless of what is currently happening. This has been a wonderful time to reconnect with my friends from WashU, as well. We will all keep doing wonderful things in this world despite the "schedule change."
Architecture grad '73 and '76: recession, stagflation, and no federal attempt to help the economy. Typical job interview back then: "WashU? Where is that? Can you draft?"
Be imaginative in the job hunt and continue the hard work WashU required, especially in design history and delineation. Architecture is about selling/telling stories through recognizable, dependable, and clear technical delineations. Rewards come from providing clients and employers more than they expect.
My early experience had a different kind of wild client, but imagine the opportunity if Joe Exotic or one of the other zoo owners in Tiger King was your client. First, work out a few programmatic items with animal rights, then provide for them the same respect, competence, creative design, and documentation you will later provide to any other individual, corporate, or institutional client. Have an engaged attitude.
Remember to provide good memories for the benefit of the WashU grads that will follow.
My first boss told me that the reason he hired me had nothing to do with my portfolio. "Oh, it's not that it wasn't a good portfolio!" he assured me when I looked distressed by the suggestion that my body of work wasn't much of an asset. "I hired you because you were so poised during your interview."
The reason that I could come off as "poised" in that situation was because I had just graduated from a prestigious school with an incredibly rigorous curriculum: WashU. My professors had lived in the world that they were preparing me for. I got a really solid education. As I met other young artists trying to enter the advertising business, it was clear WashU had given me a leg up. I had more skills, a stronger work ethic, an internship on my resume, and a portfolio that demonstrated I was ready for the work.
You have all of that and more, no doubt. Take heart. Go forth with confidence, poise even. You have a leg up. These four years of very hard work have been worth it!
I can relate to where you are and your thoughts of uncertainty. Here are some of the adages that I hold dear to my psyche to keep my momentum going forward:
1) Necessity is the mother of invention.
2) When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
3) Think outside the box.
I lost a couple positions at firms due to recessions. My dad happened to be an inventor, so I helped him with an idea during a recession and, admittedly, was subsequently surprised to find my name on a U.S. patent. All I thought I had done was present my drawing to Dad's patent attorney.
Today, the son of my father's patent attorney is my patent attorney. My ideas are the practical result of working at projects, mostly adapting to my environment. One of my inventions came directly from remembering a STRUCTURES class discussion. Resultantly, 30 years later, a simple, revolutionary idea was sparked. Look around your space, details are begging for improvement. Believe in yourself. Good luck!
New York, New York
I live in New York City and have been told one of the epicenters of COVID-19. Although I am homebound now and will be for some time, my open window supplies the laughs of children playing. Be it in their secured backyards, it is a comfort. It makes me smile when often we do not these days. Birds chirp, kids laugh, I have turned off CNN. A new generation is starting despite this little hiccup, and we have a chance for a fresh start. Breath, relax, and look forward to the challenges you will have to face. If not for yourself, then for all of us. Cherish your education: It is so important.
We will all have to make changes in our lives, and I am confident that you will make the right ones. I am counting on it. Congratulations! We will be able to celebrate together soon. Until then, listen out your window, and you will hear the future: It is yours to define.
The last words Professor Ron Leax spoke to me the week before I graduated in 2001 were, "Never give in." It set a concluding stamp on a chunk of memory I banked in my brain from my favorite mentor. I wrote it down at the time, and I am glad to have that memory to draw strength from when I need it most.
May you, the graduates of 2020, find ways to remember the essential lessons your mentors at WashU created for you. This hiccup in your progress as a creative soul will only make you more determined to never give in.
We are living in unprecedented times, but it won't last forever. Who will you be after? A ceremony has never defined who we are. What defines who we are is what we do with challenges. You have the advantage of great intellect combined with creativity. You can imagine a world, a space, that no one else yet sees, and what you create will shape our world for centuries. Don't let this time get you down. Use it to see a better world that only you can.
Congratulations, Class of 2020!
It's okay to mourn what didn't happen. It's okay to mourn the lost opportunities. It's okay. Then take yourself out into the world with a strong sense of what matters—your community, caring for others, bringing brightness into a world where things feel murky. Your creativity matters. It can be an outlet for you, and the things you share can be a gift for those of us who are struggling through this with you. Take it from someone from the class of 2007, who graduated into the great recession—this too will pass. Sending love and hope for a bright future for you.
Los Angeles, California
Assistant Curator, Skirball Cultural Center
I suspect when you thought about graduating with your BFA, you probably were not imagining that you'd be showing your work digitally and having your final crits on Zoom. Regardless, the hard facts of these strange times do not detract from what you have accomplished. You have worked hard, bonded with your classmates, and certainly you've learned something along the way, I hope.
I hope that you will continue to work through this difficulty to turn it into a rich source for your practice, as artists have always done. Design lifesaving devices, speak truth to power, ferment new expressive movements, and create beautiful (yes, I said it) images, objects, and products that will bring comfort and joy to people who need it.
Most of all, I hope you cherish your special tribe of art school weirdos, even if it's just over a computer screen. Hopefully you can reunite in person soon enough!
Until then, I hope you and your loved ones stay healthy, and please stop touching your face so much.
A time of crisis is an important time to reflect on your values and goals. Take this opportunity to look inwards. Nothing is more valuable than knowing where you stand and where you are headed.
Remember to give kindness to yourself! And always give kindness to others. Let kindness permeate all that you do.
When faced with difficulty and stress, remember there is always a different way. Recognize that everything can change and takes time to change, sometimes a very long time.
Learn from every step along the way. Nothing you do is futile, especially those that seem decidedly useless or routine. Be open-minded and look harder. There's always something more.
Life can be challenging, but you are never alone! Don't be afraid to ask for help, and try to help others. Bring out the courage in yourself, and all problems will eventually pass.
You have a long bright journey ahead of you. This is just one small step. Think long-term and don't forget the present. I sincerely wish you the very best!
I can't imagine how difficult this last few weeks have been for you all. I hope that you know that you have a community of alumni in your corner. If you need something, don't hesitate to reach out.
This time brings all kinds of challenges, not just financial, but also mental. During this time, I've found myself returning to art and creativity. I make things for myself to focus my anxious energy. And I enjoy seeing the community of musicians, artists, cooks, designers, makers come together to create things that are needed, both emotionally and physically, out of limited supplies. That has been inspiring. So, while it isn't the end of the year you had envisioned, know that your art is something you will always have and be able to take with you no matter what. Wishing you all the best!
To the class of 2020: Don't stop being creative dreamers! I graduated WashU not knowing what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to somehow see the world. I found an internship program and bought a one-way ticket to Barcelona. I met great people, worked in design, was artistically inspired daily, learned fluent Spanish, and met the love of my life. Be smart, but have fun in the world... you never know where your bold choices will eventually take you and their impact on the rest of your life.
Liege, Wallonia, Belgium
Architect and Founding Partner, Baumans-Deffet Architecture & Urbanism
Dear future graduates,
Specific life circumstances brought me from Belgium to St. Louis in the mid 1980s. I graduated from WashU in 1985 (BA in Architecture). I then received my master's degree from MIT. Back to WashU in 1999 to receive the young alumni award. What a chance! I live, work, and teach in Liege, Belgium (French speaking).
My message to you would be:
- Be grateful. Graduating from such a fine institution is a real advantage in life.
- You have chosen one of the most beautiful, fantastic, challenging, difficult disciplines (architecture). It will be a lifetime investment, and it will take a while before you take hold of the privilege (and the responsibility) it generates. Do not worry. Architecture is a slow adventure.
- Please, never give up. Build!
- Be careful of the environment, and take good measure of the social impact of your spatial decisions.
- This global world needs to find a new balance. Cultivating multiple local conditions will be your challenge.
Best to all!
Brooklyn, New York
After many hours and sleepless nights learning to design buildings, spaces, and cities, it's now time to focus on designing your career. The education I received at WashU prepared me for life well beyond the corners of the profession. It's time to leverage your imagination and confidence to define your own outcome. Survival instigates entrepreneurship, and now is the time to revel in the opportunity in front of you. Spend your time wisely, invest in yourself, and take risks. At the end of the day, luck is a skill.
St. Louis, Missouri
Dear Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts Class of 2020,
This totally strange and unsettling situation you find yourselves in makes this graduation time very unique—and not in a good way. It is sad. It is so disappointing. It is a time you will never forget! None of us will! This uneasy situation will pass, and things will eventually get back to normal. You will tell your children and grandchildren about it and how you survived the Pandemic of 2020! You will tell them how you had to miss your graduation—completely—and how you were unable to display your art and have receptions for family members and friends to come admire your work. However, you did it! You've completed your education—for now, anyway. You have a right to be proud of your accomplishments in spite of the lack of ritual "pomp, and circumstance!" Be relieved. Be safe, be well!
Wishing you all the best now and for the future,
Carol Diaz-Granados, Ph.D. - BFA 1964, Cert. in Journalism 1966, MA 1980
Kansas City, Kansas
Associate Professor and Chair of Sculpture, Kansas City Art Institute
Adversity has the power to generate meaningful art. Remember that Frida Kahlo painted her cast while convalescing in bed. Arshile Gorky held his dying mother in his arms while the Armenian Genocide raged. Andre Breton returned from the front lines of WWI, embraced fear and absurdity to upend culture by birthing the surrealist movement. The journey each of these artists took led them through the way of love, and we are the beneficiaries of their imaginations unleashed by suffering.
Bowling Green, Kentucky
CONGRATULATIONS on your achievements, especially in these challenging times. Be mindful of Dr. Martin Luther King's remarkable insight on adversity: "If not for the wind in our face, we would be unable to fly." I say, live your dreams and soar to the edge of your ambitions. You are our future. Be well and make us proud.
Neal Downing, AIA
Class of 1982
It’s such a bummer not to be able to finish your last semester on the amazing WashU campus this spring. It’s a great loss, and I grieve for you, with you. Know, however, how lucky you are to be an artist. Being an artist and enjoying that will provide great solace your whole life. As you know from school projects, there is no one right solution. Most important is that you be yourself, use what you have, both inside and beside you, to make something that solves the problem, that approaches pleasing you. If it fails to do what you need it to, change it to make it better. That’s what an artist does.
Communicate with your colleagues, and your faculty mentors if that works for you. Use them and work on your own while remembering what you have learned. It’s the beginning of your life’s practice, which will always require that you do that. Then learn more.
Welcome to the strong community of WU alumni who are all over the map with what we have done with our educations. Congrats!
New York, New York
Co-Founder/Creative Lead, SpecialGuest.co
For the past dozen years, I have been running a creative studio that mostly produces video communications. Even a small video crew for a commercial production needs over 10 people congregating to get the right shots done. It's not possible to do that right now. Recently I listened in on a "town hall" call with video producers from all over the country, and I heard someone say that the result of this stalled moment will be a "race to the bottom," with producers needing to capture video content on their iPhones at home or collecting content from YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok to create video work. That phrase "race to the bottom" really stood out to me. It sounds depressing to anyone who might be very established in the creative industry. But for you, the students who will be stepping into the creative job market, it really means "race to the top." You will be the new growth pushing up from the ashes.
New York, New York
Associate Designer, Sarankco
While it was nontraditional, congrats to the Class of 2020 on graduating! Finishing senior year from quarantine is just further showing how your class can overcome challenges. I have faith that you all will come out of this crisis both as stronger people and better artists! People will need art more than ever during this time, so take advantage of your new skills! Lots of love from the Class of 2018.
Director, Shalom Baranes Associates
Greeting, WashU 2020 Classes. My career has seen many changes in the world, from graduation in 1973 to today. As a freshman 50 years ago in April 1970, in the Quad on the 1st Earth Day, I listened to Pete Seeger sing. He inspired us and continued to advocate for the environment for the rest of his life.
Today you face, along with much of the world and especially our country, challenges to your health, your professional future, your livelihood. Our hearts go out to you during this unworldly time in your lives, when the present seems stolen, and the future is murky. When participation in a physical graduation ceremony is taken away. We applaud your perseverance and extend a hand to provide support, advice, or simply share thoughts. You are the future, know we believe in you: your dreams, drive, and determination. Society needs your engagement, voice, and contributions. Pursue what you love, search out challenges, get involved. Get licensed. Give back. And welcome to the profession!
Professor, Norwalk Community College
I think that artists are the most fortunate people in the world; never bored; always engaged. We are free to think whatever we want to think. Art is an endless dialogue that traverses time and geography. My conversation with my work and others has continued over 50 years. I wake up looking forward to what I will see, learn, and produce tomorrow.
You are so lucky to be at the beginning of this wonderful journey.
Maplewood, New Jersey
Fine Arts Professor, Seton Hall University
Dear Sam Fox Class of 2020,
Stay healthy and I hope your loved ones are safe.
I'm sure many of you are unimaginably frustrated and your dreams feel like they have gone astray. But I am confident that all of you will rise, stare down, and overcome all of the challenges presented during this unprecedented moment in history. The world will be profoundly different at the end of this saga and you, as the first artists and visionaries of a new generation, will define and shape our next steps.
Hang on and charge forward.
Prof. Moss Freedman
Fine Arts instructor, Seton Hall University
Wash U. MFA 94
To the Class of 2020,
My father informed me in April 1970 that he would help me bring my paintings home from WashU one week before graduation. Like you, many of us missed having the closure of graduation due to Vietnam War demonstrations. I was looking forward to your graduation so I could find that closure, but again I will miss graduation. This time around, however, I know that life is a journey with unexpected turns—joyous times along with excruciating experiences and disappointments that make that journey deeper and more rich. You've all spent the last four years immersed in the arts. You learned to give your journey a voice. The disappointment you feel today will pale as you use the gift you've experienced at WashU to give voice to your thoughts and experiences. Look ahead to a fulfilling life for yourself. Look ahead to a life with which you'll be able to give to the people you love, and you'll be able to help make the world a better place.
St. Louis, Missouri
CEO, Anova Furnishings
Congratulations to the 2020 Graduating MLA Class of the Sam Fox School of Art & Design.
At its roots, your chosen profession is about problem solving, and you are now fully equipped to help make our world a better place at a time when it absolutely needs it. I hope you are sincerely proud of the skills you've gained and the accomplishments you've attained through this rigorous program. From what I've seen, entering your profession with a degree from this school positions you uniquely to blend the art and science of design. You will bring disparate sets of ideas together into amazing unified landscapes and experiences for countless members of our society. We're all lucky to have you out in the professional world making an impact. I can't wait to see the improvements your class brings our world in the coming decades!!
With Deep Respect and Admiration,
St. Augustine, Florida
Retired, Hallmark Artist and Freelance Children's Book Illustrator
As a member of the Class of 1970 School of Fine Arts majoring in illustration and design, I wish you much success in the world of art as you graduate. When I attended WashU, it was during the height of Pop Art and Op Art. Many art schools were focused on experimental art. But at WashU's School of Fine Arts, the basics of figure drawing and design were being taught. I remember a professor saying that it was up to us to break our own ground in art and that knowing the basics was at the root of all art. I was glad for that. Even though I knew that I was going to become an illustrator who wanted to do stylized children's art, all those tough anatomy classes and design projects gave me a solid foundation. I had great professors that pushed me to go beyond what I thought I was capable of and taught me to look and think beyond the surface of things. I went on to become a Hallmark artist and children's book illustrator. I will always cherish those four years of learning at Bixby Hall.
Los Angeles, California
My love of the arts—all of the arts: painting, cinema, photography, poetry, drama, etc.—has sustained me all of my life. The wonderful education I received at the Art Institute of Chicago Junior School (1958–1965) and at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Fine Arts (1965–1969) truly has resonated in me throughout the years.
Dorothy Tanning says it well: "Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity. I don't see a different purpose for it now."
Please go out into our wounded world and create art that will heal. That is what we need now more than ever. Art of all kinds holds that promise and capability. I believe it. And I believe in you.
With Love and Good Wishes,
Kristin Glover, BFA 1969
P.S.: The image I share with you was taken while in residence at the Paris WU studio in '08. It was taken on film with a 1947 WideLux camera given to me by one of my mentors and dear friends, Haskell Wexler. I call the photo "Le Chef Takes a Break."
New Canaan, Connecticut
Architecture is a profession that can be practiced well into your 80s and beyond. We were taught to believe that tomorrow would be better than today. So think of the coronavirus as a terrifying epic storm that, although seemingly bleak and hopeless, can build character, making you a stronger, more caring, and thoughtful person. That was my experience when my architectural career was interrupted after graduation, and I was drafted into the army to serve two years in the Korean War.
The architecture curriculum is fraught with creative and physical challenges. If you made it to graduation, you probably have what it takes to be an architect. It's a long journey, but one you will never regret taking.
Alan Eliot Goldberg BA '54
Morris Eminent Scholar in Art, Augusta University;
Director, Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design, Georgia State University
Soon you will be receiving your degree from Washington University and the Sam Fox School, and that is an accomplishment that the current situation cannot lessen. Congratulations on achieving that success!
Although this seems like a very hard time to envision meeting the many goals you have set for yourself, history tells us that events like the pandemic we are all experiencing inspire some people to do amazing things. That person can be you!
This is an excellent time to take advantage of working in your studio. Under normal circumstances distractions might keep you from studio work. Many artists I know have said that in hard times, it is their studio work that gets them through. It is true for me. I hope it will be true for you, too. When our current situation ends, you will be ready to be an active participant and make your career in the arts.
My best wishes for your future success!
Cheryl Goldsleger, MFA 1975
On the occasion of my WashU commencement, I recall Peter MacKeith noting the inherently optimistic nature of the practice of architecture.
This fundamental characteristic of what we do is good to reflect on under normal circumstances, and I hope it can resonate for you in these challenging times as well. Architecture always has the potential to make a positive contribution. Our work seeking to manifest that potential takes intent and commitment, but it is literally crafting things to be better.
My heart goes out to you! You have had your final year, the pinnacle of your educational experience, completely upended. Know that the family of alumni embrace and support you. It is ok to grieve the loss of these special experiences, but after the tears have been shed, delight in the journey. While it may be different than you planned and is much less than ideal, it is a part of your story—your generation's story. Do not let this diminish your accomplishments! Do what you know how to do best: create! Build on this story and allow it to grow you and your work into something stronger. Allow it to be a flame that fuels your sense of purpose and direction. Share your story. Build community. Tap into all the skills the talented SFS faculty have been nurturing in you. Allow your work to bring introspection to the moment, order to the chaos, and comfort to the suffering. Create a movement of change and a vision of hope for a brighter future. You are powerful!
To the Class of 2020, congratulations! An old Irish blessing and prayer sums up our wishes for you:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
Welcome to the distinguished privilege of calling yourself an alumni of Washington University!
Jeff and Valerie Greer (MArch 2002) + Isla Greer (WU Cub Bear)
Los Angeles, CA
Owner, Monkey Deux Inc.
As someone who graduated almost 25 years ago, I can tell you that over those years I've never once told anyone, nor have I heard a particularly good story, about a graduation ceremony. You've got a great story to tell about a time in your life that literally everyone living today will remember and relate to. It's a great ice-breaker. Congratulations, Class of 2020.