June 13, 2017
Dear members of the University of Oregon community,
I am writing to briefly interrupt finals to acknowledge the closure of a terrific academic year, to thank everyone for their contributions to the University of Oregon, and to warmly congratulate all our graduates. As we close the book on 2016–17, I am filled with gratitude, awe, and a sense of accomplishment for all that we have achieved together this year.
Next Monday, we will be celebrating the Class of 2017 at Commencement. This will be my second opportunity to say a few words to our graduates as they head off to make their mark on the world. It is one of the special privileges of the job—looking out into the sea of green and thinking about the many ways in which you will shape our future, lead our country, and make the world a better and more interesting place to be. You are woven into the fabric of the University of Oregon, and I am immensely proud to call you Oregon alumni. Remember, once a Duck, always a Duck!
I will spare you a long list of all that our campus accomplished, both for the sake of brevity and for fear of leaving something out. However, I will mention a few things: I am thrilled with the progress we made in launching the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, the major advances we made to increase the diversity of our students and faculty and foster a culture of inclusion, and the stability we created in hiring outstanding deans who will lead their schools to new heights of excellence.
All of these initiatives (and so many more that have gone unnamed) are essential to our goals of supporting academic excellence, improving student access, and enhancing our campus diversity and experience. To be sure, we have much more important work to do, and it will require the focused attention of all members of our community. That, however, is a message for another day.
Thank you for a fantastic year! I am optimistic and energized as we wrap up the academic year. I wish you all an enlightening, safe, and happy summer.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law