Dear Class of 2020:
It’s hard to say goodbye, graduates.
It’s especially hard to say goodbye when you weren’t ready.
You had more memories to make. You had more to experience. You had more to learn.
As it turns out, you did learn – just not in the way that you planned. Each of you learned more than you ever bargained for in the last two months – and you learned it fast. In the true pioneering spirit of the Chambers College, you pivoted quickly, and successfully learned to navigate an online environment.
Most importantly, you learned resiliency, compassion and empathy. There is nothing more important than taking care of each other and lending each other strength when our world is full of uncertainty.
Those aren’t the lessons you sign up for when you came to West Virginia University for New Student Orientation. You registered for a biology course, a math course, an English course, never knowing that the greatest – and often, the hardest – lessons come from the unexpected moments that test our resolve.
Each of you have persevered through some of the most difficult days our world has faced in your lifetime with strength and grit. No other generation is going to be as ready as you to face your future – a future that will, undoubtedly, be full of change.
I often say that our Chambers College students are the future of work, and that’s never been more true than it is today. I realize that it may be difficult to think about the future, as the uncertainty of the world is heavy right now. What is certain is that there will be a future, and that future needs you. It needs your perseverance, your energy and your adaptability. It needs your hope and your aspirations to change the world for the better. It needs you to be the next generation of creators, entrepreneurs and business leaders who will confront the problems of today and solve the problems of tomorrow.
The jobs of tomorrow will favor those who are prepared to innovate and adapt on their feet. Chambers College students are well-prepared to do just that, as you have risen to the challenge together of navigating through the final months of your college education with flexibility and tenacity.
Each of you has a blank slate in front of you, and that will give you the ability to transform business. Companies will be rethinking how they work, and they will look to this generation to make an impact and shape a new course for all functional areas of business and organizations.
My hope is that you never stop dreaming big. Know that I am so proud of each and every one of you, and I can’t wait to hear how you’re changing the world.
Go out there and do the impossible – it’s what Mountaineers do best!
Milan Puskar Dean
John Chambers College of Business and Economics