Dear Alfred University students, staff, and faculty:
A few weeks ago, four first year Ukrainian students who joined our University as of this Fall, gave a poignant and informative presentation on their country: its traditions, music, food, educational system, history, economics, technological innovations, and people. In listening to their presentation, one could not help but be moved by their resilience and optimism, notwithstanding the hardships that they and their families have endured this year due to Russia’s invasion. Their focus on the future of their country and how they will be able to help build it, armed with an Alfred University education, inspired all of us who attended their talk.
The stories told by our Ukrainian students of what their country’s citizens have endured serves as a fitting backdrop to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and the opportunity it affords to both express gratitude for our blessings and reflect on what is genuinely important in our lives: family and friends; home and community; good health; educational opportunities; gainful employment; peace; liberty; and purpose, to name a few.
At this time of Thanksgiving, let us keep in mind Thornton Wilder’s observation that “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”