November 25, 2015

Dear friends and colleagues:

Thanksgiving is a particularly special time – a time to gather with family and celebrate our blessings – and I sincerely hope that all of you have a wonderful holiday.

It is also an opportunity to look ahead and imagine a better tomorrow.

Recent events are reminders of the ongoing unrest in our world, from harm to innocents around the globe to growing concerns over discrimination in American society.

Working together, we at the University of Illinois can help lead the way to a future rooted in justice, social equality, mutual respect, understanding and inclusion. These bedrock values have helped guide this university since its founding – although we must admit to having fallen short at times. We must now strongly reaffirm our commitment and light a beacon to show the way toward that better tomorrow.

We will speak out firmly and clearly against expressions of hate or racial bias, and will react swiftly to acts of discrimination. We will champion a culture where all are treated equally, all are respected and all have the opportunity to live the lives of their dreams. We will exemplify open, inclusive and safe environments for all our students, faculty and staff, wherever they are and wherever they are from. We will expand our efforts university-wide in this regard and look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.

I wish you and yours the happiest of Thanksgivings, and thank you for your commitment to equality, to diversity and to this great university.