Dean Walker’s Letter to Graduates
Commencement is always an occasion to celebrate, but the Spring 2020 graduates’ perseverance in the face of a worldwide pandemic is an even larger reason to rejoice. CSU College of Business Dean Beth Walker’s message to students receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees salutes their efforts, both on campus and as professionals helping business lead the world’s recovery efforts.
I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of you, our class of 2020!
Today, you have achieved a tremendous personal milestone. You completed the final steps of your academic journey during a global pandemic, one of the largest crises our world has ever faced.
With only a few weeks to go in the final semester of your college career, CSU made the difficult decision to shift to online teaching and learning, putting the health and safety of our community first. Through it all, you have shown remarkable resourcefulness as you transitioned to online learning, and resilience, as you departed campus, leaving behind friends, student clubs, and community connections. You rallied, adapted, and adjusted to new ways of learning, living, and engaging with a remote campus community. And today, you are graduating.
Over the years, I have had many conversations with employers about why they return, year after year, to hire our College of Business graduates. While they talk about your intelligence, your extraordinary work ethic, and your integrity, the quality that truly sets you apart is GRIT. In one of my favorite books, psychologist Dr. Angela Duckworth suggests that what drives success not only at work, but in life, is not how smart you are, or the score you earned on a test, but GRIT – that special blend of passion and perseverance that motivates you to overcome obstacles, to face challenges head on, to not give up, no matter what. Today is proof that within each of you resides an inner strength, a determination, grit, that not only got you to the finish line today, but will enable you to overcome every challenge you face in the future.
In a few months, or maybe a year, the world will return to “normal.” As a business graduate, you will help lead the way – inspired to innovate by the new realities that confront us, motivated to create new possibilities for a better way a life, driven to use business to create a better world. As you participate in shaping our new future, remember the lessons that you learned while “social distancing” during COVID-19. Ten years from now, when you tell your kids stories about how you survived the global pandemic of 2020, you won’t recall the assignment you didn’t turn in because your internet connection went down, or the higher grade you didn’t earn because you couldn’t muster the energy to study for yet another online quiz. You will remember the special memories that you created with your family during your unexpected time together; howling from your porch at 8:00 every night to honor our healthcare workers; the acts of kindness that were extended to you from a caring classmate or faculty member; or the simple acts of service that you embraced out of a need to give back to your community. As emerging business leaders, you have the opportunity to invent a new and better future for all of us. In business and in life, remember that taking care of people, of each other, is what matters most.
On behalf of the faculty and staff in the College of Business, congratulations Business Rams! I am extremely proud of each one of you. Not even a global pandemic could stand in the way of you achieving your dreams. You have grit! I look forward to seeing you at commencement in December where we will properly acknowledge your accomplishment. Until then, please enjoy the short video that the College put together, just for you.