At the end of this harsh and historic year, the usual sense of holiday joy may feel harder to summon. But this holiday season, as campus winds down the work of this semester, I am filled with gratitude as well as hope.
Our achievements in 2020 weren’t the usual ones. Simply being together for in-person learning tapped our deepest reserves of creativity, flexibility and perseverance. We have had to dig further still to maintain the human connections that are Longwood’s heart and soul. These efforts have produced real exhaustion. But our mission of preparing citizen leaders has never mattered more, and we should be proud we have succeeded, in such full measure.
To our students --- Thank you. I know this semester has been hard in so many ways, but your commitment to public health and to one another made it possible to be here. So many people have doubted college students. But you have stepped up, earning praise and gratitude from the Town of Farmville and well beyond. I promise you, in 2021, sunnier days lie ahead.
To our faculty and staff --- your professionalism, imagination and dedication have been powerful, and they have mattered so deeply in the lives of our students. Amidst your own challenges, including caring for family members young and old, you safely reimagined our classrooms, upgraded our buildings, cared for anxious students, redesigned courses and quickly learned new technologies to keep our students personally and academically connected. Thank you.
To our home community of Farmville, we are so grateful for your partnership and support. And in spite of 2020’s challenges, we took real strides together. The opening of the elegant Johns and Moss Halls, landmarks along Main Street. A third Starbucks! Indian food! The coming year will also bring our new art-house style cinema on High Street --- and much else in the way of progress, as our community flourishes.
In this hard year for families, our community and the nation, we have experienced grief, anxiety and challenging conversations about justice, equity and our obligations to one another. There is still difficult road to travel in 2021, and we cannot let up. But Longwood has met and prospered through every great challenge we’ve faced, drawing essential strength from our community and our true spirit of camaraderie. This year, all of you -- students, faculty and staff, friends near and far --- have been writing your own great chapter in our history.
I wish you peace and health this holiday season.