A message to graduates
This semester has taken us all by surprise. Due to circumstances none of us could have ever imagined, our celebration of graduation — one of my favorite events both as a dean and as a faculty member — is not taking place in person. No shaking hands of graduates or hugging family members or hooding our graduate students. No handing over diplomas. And no large, gleeful celebrations afterward. However, just because we are not celebrating in person the graduating class of spring 2020, we are celebrating nonetheless. Indeed, there is just as much — and even more — to celebrate this spring.
Although it is heartbreaking for students who have worked hard for many years to reach this point — expecting to be recognized in person in the presence of fellow classmates, faculty, family and friends — to not get their time to shine is difficult for all of us to come to grips with. But rest assured that in no way does that diminish your accomplishments.
Our world is much different today than it was at the beginning of the semester, and certainly different than when you began your degrees. The world has always been in need of engineers to solve so many challenges we have been facing, including cybersecurity, water resources, energy, national defense and so much more. And now we add "global pandemic" to the top of that list.
And while we are still in the midst of fighting this latest challenge, I am proud to say that engineers — both here and around the world — are coming to the forefront with solutions. Many of our faculty and students, including many graduating this semester, have been part of our various efforts to help provide personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer to those on the front lines, using their skills of design, 3D printing, programming, computer science and chemistry — the engineering skills students are taught in the School every day — to solve challenges. There couldn't be a more relevant — and hopeful — skillset to walk away with into this ever-evolving world. When the news is bleak and it seems like no hope is to be found, I remember this: Engineers are the hope for the future. Go forth and save the world!
As always, graduates, we welcome you to the distinguished company of the School of Engineering alumni and wish you every success in your new lives.
Jim and Ellen King Dean of Engineering and Computing