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President’s Farwell to Class of 2022

Photo courtesy of Howard University Office of the President.

Dear Howard University Graduating Seniors,

On behalf of the entire Bison community, congratulations to you on your forthcoming graduation! A Howard degree is always earned; it is never given. However, I believe this adage is more true for you, the Class of 2022, than it has been for any other graduates from our esteemed University.

The challenges you overcame over the course of your Howard journey are without precedent. You navigated a global pandemic, which entailed both the abrupt transition to virtual classes as well as the long-awaited return to in-person instruction. You encountered cyberattacks and bomb threats in addition to your already taxing course load and outside-the-classroom responsibilities.

Times of crisis undoubtedly bring suffering, but they also catalyze progress and cultivate the leaders needed to bring a better world to fruition. I have no doubt that you all are a part of what the future will refer to as a golden generation. You are global-minded and service-oriented. You believe in the power of your voice and the impact of your actions. You see the humanity of all people and work to preserve the dignity of those who have been relegated to the margins of our society. And perhaps most importantly, you understand the importance of providing help to others and asking for it for yourselves.

As proud of you as I am for the resilience you displayed in arriving to graduation, I applaud you even more loudly for the moments where you sought support. No accomplishment happens in a vacuum; your path to graduation was paved by the help you received from family and friends, mentors and peers, Howard staff and health care workers and so many more. As much as we celebrate our graduates as individuals, we should always use commencement as an opportunity to celebrate everyone on our campus. No individual or collective goals would be attainable without a strong community.

Your Howard experience was made possible by every individual on our campus and the people in your life who made sacrifices to give you opportunities. It is vital that, as you make your way into the world, you remember the significance of your time at the Mecca. It will empower you to live a life of passion and purpose. The knowledge you have accrued, the skills you have developed, the qualities you have earned, these are yours for life. While you might not remember in full every detail of every lesson you had as a student, you will never forget who you became while you were on our campus. The person you were at the Mecca is the person you will be out in the world. A new environment does not change who you are; it merely challenges you to become truer to yourself.

Congratulations once again to all our graduates for earning their degrees. And congratulations to our Howard community for making this day possible for so many deserving students.

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Excellence in Truth and Service,

Wayne A. I. Frederick. M.D., MBA

Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery

President

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