To the Graduating Class of 2020,
Dr. George Washington Carver once said, “Start where you are, with what you have. Make something of it and never be satisfied.”
Nature tells us that the only way to create diamonds is to apply pressure to darkened carbon rich elements. Class of 2020, we affirm that your class has become another diamond amongst the many warrior classes of the University of Virginia! Congratulations on the completion of awesome, world-changing, law-writing, socially provocative and locally liberating work that your class was able to be a part of while you all were students. Even with many great battles won, we are sorry you do not yet get to saunter across the Lawn before your peers and loved ones in a culminating act of accomplishment and freedom. We want you to know that the Honor of Honors you now wear is of no less value, it is of no less effort, and it is no less of an accomplishment than those of us that went before you. In fact, some would argue that what you’ve endured over the past four years may make it more of an accomplishment. You held on through deadly protests and riots. You persevered through daily profiling and microaggressions. You pressed on through a pandemic and now must face a future that you may have had planned to the “T,” and has now become a practice of navigating the unknown. While none of us experienced any easy matriculation at the University, we acknowledge that the past few years for you and the University have been a heckUVA ride. Watching your progress and wondering what could possibly happen next — you persevered — and now get to cross the finish line to further change the world for the better!
President Barack Obama once said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
We are happy to congratulate you all as new alumni! In joining any family there comes more callings and responsibilities — the callings to serve, to donate, to educate, to love, to lead and most importantly to stay connected with your Wahoo Family. As Black Alumni, we know that our students need a lot more than most in order to thrive in such a dynamic institution as Thomas Jefferson's Grounds, and with the changes that have occurred to our world, your wisdom and encouragement surely will be needed.
UVA Black Alumni
The U.Va. Black Alumni Initiative is a group “committed to cultivating a network of #BlackWahoos & building partnerships within the U.Va. and Charlottesville community to provide resources, mentorship, & advocacy for current Black students, faculty, staff, Alumni, and citizens of Charlottesville.” To join the UVA Black Alumni Group, visit www.facebook.com/groups/uvablkalumni/, follow the @UVABLKALUMNI Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages and come to Black Alumni Weekend in 2021.