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Standing together as we mourn those lost in Uvalde, Texas

A Message from the Dean

Tomorrow, we celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2022 with Convocation, followed by Thursday with the University Commencement Ceremony and the HGSE Diploma Ceremony. And yet, our celebrations can’t escape what is happening in the world. Today, we stand witness to the horrific killing of 18 elementary school children and a teacher in Uvalde, Texas.
For my Commencement address on Thursday, I had already prepared to talk about the storm clouds that threaten my outlook on the world. And with today’s developments, the hole we appear to be digging ourselves only seems a bit deeper. Yes, we will learn more in the days ahead about the specific details of this tragedy, but “thoughts and prayers” are not enough to address the devastating loss and the serious problem we have in this country.  
Some will cite the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. But don’t school children have a right to be safe?
Some will push pro-birth policies without considering what pro-life would really mean: feeding, nurturing, educating, and protecting the lives that are brought into this world.
If we truly valued all lives, perhaps the 20 Sandy Hook first graders murdered on December 14, 2012, would be in high school right now and looking forward to their own graduations in a couple of years. And who knows how many lives their teachers, principal, and school psychologist would have touched during the past decade? Victoria Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Anne Marie Murphy, Rachel D’Avino, Dawn Hochsprung, and Mary Sherlach are gone, but they died doing the most noble thing I can imagine: protecting their students.
So tomorrow, we will stand up. We will celebrate the students who are graduating. We will support them as they launch their next chapter. Because they are sorely needed. As I have written in my Commencement speech, being an educator is an important and sacred profession. And to quote L.R. Knost: “The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.” Our graduates are the hope we send into the world.
And yes, I wish I could send our graduates out with impenetrable armor. I wish I could tell them that all will be ok; that this will be the last time we mourn the lives of the innocent. But we must confront the realities of the world, and even in the face of apathy, hypocrisy, indifference, and pure evil, our mission — our work — does not change.
I do not write you with all the answers, but I continue to have faith in what this community stands for, the work we are doing, and the change we can bring about in the world together. And during devastating moments like this, I am glad we have each other to lean on.
Kiss your loved ones, be thankful for all that we have, and for those who will be participating in this week’s Commencement activities, I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.
— Mother of an elementary school student, a middle school student, and a lifelong educator 
PS: Know that there are resources available as we all navigate these troubling times.

For students, the following staff members stand ready to provide support:   

  • Kevin Boehm, Director of Student Affairs    
  • KellyAnn Robinson, Associate Director of Student Support Services     
  • Alex Galindo, Assistant Director of Student Diversity Initiatives    
  • Andrea Le, Assistant Director for Community Building and International Student Support    

For staff and faculty, the following colleagues can also provide support and guidance:      

  • Kelly Deliberato, Associate Dean for Human Resources. 
  • Jess Pesce, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs

For all community members, please take note of the following resources:   

Bridget Terry Long, Ph.D.
Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education
Saris Professor of Education and Economics

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