Dear Graduate of the Class of 2020,

Years, it took years to get where you are today. And we celebrate that. Count it as four years, or a bit less, or bit more. We celebrate all that—the hours at your computer, the days in class, the papers, the labs, the a-ha and the oh-no moments, the new friends, the spaces at New College where you like to eat, talk, sing, dance, meet up, sleep. What you have learned and what you have taught us: we celebrate that. Sometimes you hung out at Wetmore—a bit smaller, a bit quieter. Sometimes you hung out at Wilson—coffee, music, food, friends, talking circles, seminars on wellness and well-being, occasionally friendly skunks and turtles. Sometimes you gathered in the quad, for orientation, walked through, built a snowman there, or basked in a bit of late fall, early spring sunshine. We celebrate that.

Decades, it took decades to get where you are today. We, also, honour that—those who supported you in getting here, in being here, and now, also, in leaving here.

Months, the last few months, are a part of your time here, but they are not, all, that defines your time here. You are graduating, today, in an unprecedented way. We will get through this moment, but we will also think through this moment. Think about what we need to do differently, what we need to look at, a-new. You will be a critical part of that public conversation. We will need all of you—the artists, the entrepreneurs, the social scientists, the scientists. We are lucky to have all of you. The New College quad is a curve—because, one student told me, we think outside the box here. It was inspired by a river. It flows. We are proud, so proud, of you today.

Congratulations, 

Bonnie McElhinny
Principal, New College