During my years of service in the United States Congress, I never could have imagined the U.S. Capitol being desecrated in such fashion. Equally, I couldn’t have envisioned elected officials inciting and condoning seditious violence and thereby connecting themselves to actions aimed at subverting our sacred democratic principles. It is undeniable we all have a lot of work to do in restoring our democracy while also confronting the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice.
As a university president, I am optimistic because I know that our students and young people across this country will continue to strive for the more perfect union that each generation has pursued. It is our job to encourage, inspire and prepare them to lead. As President Kennedy said in his City On A Hill speech just before leaving Massachusetts for his inauguration, these times call for leaders to demonstrate courage, judgment, integrity and dedication as “the eyes of all people are upon us.”