Congratulations, graduates and thank you, UO community

June 14, 2021

Dear University of Oregon community members,

As we close out an academic year like no other, I want to say thank you—thank you, students, faculty, and staff—for your incredible resilience and tenacity. You persevered—giving up so much to protect our community—while continuing to learn, teach, discover, create, and serve for the betterment of our world.

This last weekend we welcomed many of our graduating seniors to campus for two of our commencement activities. Seeing our students together, parading down 13th Avenue in caps and gowns, filled me with pride and joy, and I admit I got a little emotional. 

This was our first large-scale event since the start of the pandemic, made possible thanks to our dedicated staff and a small army of volunteers, as well as increasing vaccination rates and declining numbers of COVID-19 cases. It is just the beginning of a new era of recovery, hope, and renewal for our campus and community. 

We all endured so much over the last year and a half, each facing our own set of challenges. Emerging from this pandemic is not like turning on a light switch, but every day gets a little brighter. Our graduate parade was a wonderful reminder of our purpose and mission, and motivates us to continue working toward that brighter future. 

This fall, we will be back together again on our University of Oregon campuses for a new, and I hope better, normal. We will be wiser and well prepared. We will use what we learned over the last year and continue to be nimble to protect each other, help our community recover, and return with renewed vigor to the on-campus instruction, research, and activities that enrich our academic and campus experiences.

We continue to monitor conditions and work with public health and campus stakeholders as we plan for fall. We will share more information over the summer about what to expect in September. 

One thing I want you to all understand is that we will follow the science, we will take care of one another, and we will guard the health of our community. 

I cannot wait for us to be together again!

In the meantime, congratulations to our graduates. I hope everyone gets some time with family, to rest and reflect on all you accomplished this year. Thank you! Here’s to a brighter future!

Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law