2020! A year most people want to forget!
And while it certainly has been one filled with hardship and pain, I choose to focus on the good—the many ways in which the Panther nation rose to the challenges.
We had our share of losses, both personal and otherwise, as we dealt with an unrelenting pandemic that has affected every corner. At the same time, we demonstrated a resilience that has been part of the FIU spirit from day one. I want to celebrate that collective show of determination and innovation even as we honor the sacrifices and disappointments that so many in our university community and beyond have experienced.
To remind us of what we are capable in trying times, I share a brief list of Why I Am Grateful in 2020. Certainly there is much more to add—the support of my family, for one—but let these be prompts to creating your own list and remembering what NOT to forget as we leave this year behind.
I am grateful for:
Panthers willing to take on the hard jobs. As social unrest shook our nation, new leaders emerged to help our university and community frame a fairer future for all.
Faculty who help us understand. Whether a director in the Green School of International & Public Affairs warning and teaching about cyberthreats or a professor encouraging Honors College students to connect with local Black history, they open our eyes and minds every day.
Alumni who make a difference. True leaders step up with little fanfare but always for the good of others, as did one FIU graduate who is fighting for the health of his fellow citizens in Africa.
Champions of those in need. The professional staff and faculty that support and create programming that provides the developmentally disabled with training and education to enhance their quality of life do it out of love.
Research that’s changing the world. The super-cool marine biologists in the College of Arts, Sciences & Education are leading the charge to save endangered species of shark.
Community members who support our FIU. Board of Trustees chairman Dean Colson is just one of the many who have the university’s interests at heart.
And I am grateful for you, our ever-growing community of FIU alumni—to which we added more than 16,000 new members in 2020, all of them via virtual graduation.
I wish you and your loved ones a happy, safe, prosperous and healthy New Year!