A Note from Dr. Jose Villalba

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

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