Last week, a colleague at CCA asked me to record a short video for the graduates of our 2020 cohort. The format of the final presentation — a collage of messages from several people — constrained the length of my video to around twenty seconds. That’s not much time. After much editing, I came up with something that fit within the prescribed length. But I have no such time constraints in this blog, so I thought I’d share the more extended version of what I wrote here:

Dear graduates: Congratulations! I won’t pretend it’s not weird to greet you over a prerecorded video on this important occasion.

You’re graduating under extraordinary circumstances. Your ability to persevere and move forward in these challenging times is a sign of your strength and character. These attributes will serve you well in your careers and your lives.

You have my best wishes as you embark on new adventures. And again, congratulations on your achievement.

I have great respect for students who are graduating during this time of uncertainty. They’ve faced significant disruptions in their studies and are about to enter the job market at a tough time. It’s easy to become dispirited under these conditions, and anyone would understand if they chose to put things on hold for a while. As I’ve reminded my students this year, we’ll remember their cohort as one that found ways of overcoming tremendous obstacles to achieve their goals. The pandemic offers many tests of character; there’s much credit to those who pull through.