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Commencement Reflections

Headshot of President-Elect Seidel

 

Dear UW Community,

I hope you were able to share in the virtual spring 2020 commencement ceremony last Saturday. Perhaps a silver lining to the situation we find ourselves in is that people like me, more than 1,000 miles away, were able to attend virtually, just as everyone did. I hope many others from your families and friends who are scattered about the world were able to join as well. The virtual ceremony was extremely well done, and in some ways was almost more personal because it brought a number of UW students, faculty and even the commencement speakers right into our homes.

It was wonderful to be able to highlight the talent of the community, from Lora Sherrodd’s beautiful opening of the Star-Spangled Banner right through the conclusion with degrees awarded to all the students. I thought Coach Bohl’s remarks were indeed inspiring. Note that as one who has had a career of true distinction, his message that delivering the commencement address may have been the “most prestigious” thing he has ever been asked to do underscores how important this event is to us all -- graduating our students remains the highest goal shared by all at our university.  His message about college being the place where students learn how to be social beings and gain skills of interaction with others is a sometimes-overlooked aspect of gaining a degree. I know that he is as eager as all of us for the day when we can all be together again.

As Coach Bohl challenged, we want all our graduates to continue learning, and to sprint as hard and fast as possible from first to second base. Seeing this ceremony truly reminded me of the hope and promise for the future that I felt when I finally (yes, there is a story there) received my first degree. Congratulations to all for persevering through a difficult year, which in itself I hope will remind you that great things are to come.

As Gabrielle and I gear up for our upcoming move, we are spending more and more time diving in on all things Wyoming. I was able to attend a good part of last week’s budget hearings and Board of Trustees meetings, which I found extremely valuable. I also accepted an invitation to participate in a Leadership Wyoming activity over the summer, and I have already started in. “EMERGE” is an alumni cohort geared toward connecting alumni of the Leadership Wyoming program while growing leadership capacity in the state. Not an alumnus of the program myself, I am appreciative that “honorary status” was given to me to allow my participation.

Friday evening, Gabrielle and I were able to join another virtual social hour activity, this time with the leadership of the Student Affairs division. Our thanks to VP Kim Chestnut and the other participants who joined us for a really enjoyable evening.

I understand summer hours have begun this week, and I hope all of you will enjoy having some extra daylight time to enjoy the warmer weather and activities outside. Alas, we are spending a lot of time inside, still packing and labeling boxes, and preparing for movers who will be arriving at the end of next week. The good news is that this does bring us closer to our arrival in Wyoming, and we anticipate becoming Wyoming citizens soon! Until next week, I hope each of you remains healthy and safe.

Warm regards,

President-Designate Ed Seidel

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