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Dear students, faculty and staff,

Throughout the past few weeks of culminating exhibitions and presentations, I have been deeply impressed by our students’ amazing work and how profoundly you address the pressing issues of our world—sustainability, climate and social justice, food and housing insecurities, equity, and engagement. I must congratulate our exceptional community of faculty and students, artists, investigators, researchers, creators all. Your pursuit of excellence and innovation with rigor and precision is omni-present.

Over the weekend, we have learned once again that though we are deeply committed  to social justice, tragic events targeting diverse communities continue to occur and profoundly affect us, brutally reminding us that we must all continue to be civic advocates pushing for justice, equity, and healing. I trust that your intellectual and compassionate generosity will help repair our world and build a future where racism and hate are no longer part of our everyday lives. We are proud of the work you do every day. Our continued engagement as a community is imperative.

This year’s rapid transition back to physical interaction and investigation has built our collective enterprise and impact, and we have all embraced it. What we do every day weaves a social fabric for leadership and collegiality. From the hundreds of first-year students joining us to walk the Brooklyn Bridge, to Spring Fest, and the Foundations Expanded pop-up store, art installations, and fashion runway on Myrtle Avenue, you have found meaningful ways to reengage and build new connections that will sustain you and help you create our future.  

Tomorrow, I am delighted to say, we return to Radio City Music Hall to celebrate our class of 2022 graduates. We welcome Toshiko Mori, architect extraordinaire, as our Commencement speaker—she represents our commitment to making and building powerful environments and communities. We will celebrate a year in which we welcomed two new vice presidents and a new provost. We also launched several new programs, including the BFA in Game Design, the Black Studies minor, an advanced certificate in Design History, and the master of Landscape Architecture program that will introduce its first class this fall. We celebrate national recognition of our first-generation program and acknowledge our concerted efforts for BIPOC and international students, as well as continued advancement in our NCAA Division III athletics process. 

This year, our faculty, students, and programs received generous support through Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, new research grants and scholarships, and for our first named professorship. The Research Open House and the Fall Forum on Teaching and Learning, a collaboration between the Center for Teaching and Learning and Fine Arts’ Project Third that focused on “Pedagogies of Reparation and Rebuilding,” were both huge successes. We continue to build collaborative relationships with New York City organizations on important initiatives, such as federally funded pilots for affordable small home sustainability, innovation at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, design and justice education, climate initiatives on Governors Island, and beyond.

I want to thank the members of our staff and faculty who made it possible for our community to live and learn safely on campus through another pandemic year, and arrive safely to this day, particularly the members of our Post-Pandemic Remobilization Operations task force. Your commitment has been enormous, and I am grateful.

I wish the best to our graduates and know you will stay in touch with us. And to all, have an incredible, energizing, safe, and healthy summer. I look forward to seeing those of you who are continuing in August!

Be safe, be well.