Words of wisdom and encouragement from Chaplain K. Monet Rice-Jalloh

Dear Class of 2020,

First, let me extend a genuine and hearty Congratulations for your accomplishments. Getting to this point, the conferring of your degree, is no small task and took immense effort. You excelled in classrooms, performance spaces, laboratories, athletic fields, and in your community commitments. Behind you were family members, loved ones, and the spirit of those who perhaps might not be physically with you yet are still proud of what you've achieved and how you've represented yourselves. May you take what you've learned at Wake Forest, and apply it in ways that bring justice, prosperity, and betterment for our world.

Second, I want to acknowledge that this is not the semester any of you had planned or foreseen, either when you walked onto Wake's campus in 2016 or when the term started back in January. And yet, in spite of this cruelest of circumstances, you have persevered and willed yourselves across this literal and figurative finish line. I trust you will take some solace - however insufficient - to know that you've flourished when others would've been knocked down; that you've made it when others might have given up. 

Finally, let me thank you for all that you've meant to your soon-to-be alma mater. Though I have not met all of you completing your degrees next week, I have had the undeserved privilege of getting to know some of you. In those spaces and in those meetings I have learned, grown, and tried to honor your experiences and hard work. This institution, like many others, has not achieved all that it is capable of, particularly when it comes to inclusion and equity. And yet time and time (and time) again so many of you have continued to make us a braver and more imaginative institution, and for that you leave Wake Forest better than you found it. 

Good luck, Class of 2020. And thank you for showing us the way to lead, the way to be, and the way to soar.

Dr. V

VP for Diversity and Inclusion

Chief Diversity Officer

Updated: May 17, 2020

Our Beloved Graduates,

As we sit and reflect on your journey from your First Year at Wake Forest to now, we are simply awestruck by the sheer magnitude of what you have endured and accomplished. Globally and locally, the past four years have been shaped by change and challenge. It is not lost on us that you all have experienced college in a period in which questions of identity and belonging have been furiously debated, often emphasizing the worst truths of our society- that we have not overcome our greatest challenges of inequity and injustice, and that we are in fact quite far from doing so.

As students of color and underrepresented communities in higher education, we know that the state of the world and college campuses has often thrown you into the spotlight or singled you out in ways that make your experiences feel like a case study rather than real life, something to be studied rather than someone who should just be studying. At Wake Forest in particular, the Class of 2020 has often been on the front lines of difficult but necessary advocacy for equity and inclusion on our campus- such advocacy can be just as exhausting as it is gratifying, and we want to acknowledge the tireless work you all have done to make Wake Forest a better place.

What is beautiful, though, is that through the challenges you all have faced as a class you have each grown into incredible leaders, team members, problem solvers, and friends. We have watched you care for one another in moments of stress and tragedy, we have seen you laugh with one another as community is built and strengthened, and we are now witnessing you prepare to go out into the world in this unprecedented time with bravery and confidence. You are so loved, so appreciated, and so celebrated.

The year 2020 already is and will continue to be a memorable one. For us in the Intercultural Center, we will remember it because of all of you. We will remember your lively discussions and debates, we will remember your smiling faces even amidst academic and social stress, and we will certainly remember the impact you have had on Wake Forest. It will be impossible to forget.

We love you all dearly, and we will always be a place to which you can return and rest, but we most certainly look forward to watching you as you soar to new places and heights. You are beyond ready.

Congrats, Grads!


The Intercultural Center