Speeches & Commentary

Thankful for you

Dear Washington University Community,

We spend a lot of time these days thinking about our differences, and maybe even more so this November, in an election year, as we head into holidays with extended family and old friends. But Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate our common values of gratitude, generosity, and togetherness. In that spirit, I want to thank you for what you’ve brought to our community this year, and for what you’ve accomplished together in service of the greater good.

Thank you, first, for thinking big. Whether you’re in a classroom, lab or in the library, at a desk, maintaining our campus spaces, or taking care of patients, you do your work with uncommon creativity and compassion. You are energized by possibilities, and you collaborate generously in order to multiply your impact. You don’t wish for change; you create it.

These things are true at other great universities, too, but I’m convinced there’s something unique about our culture at WashU, a special sauce of advocacy and empathy. You work passionately to pursue justice, to improve lives, and to provide hope for people and patients in our own community and all around the world.

And you do the same for one another. You encourage each other to persist through challenges, to have confidence in your abilities, to reach higher, and to rest and replenish. You seek out diversity, and you show up ready to listen and learn. I firmly believe that WashU is the most supportive place to study and work in higher ed, and it’s because of the small acts of care and encouragement you offer your friends and colleagues each day. Let us keep doing that for each other; let us be known for it.

Today and every day, I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead, learn, and serve alongside you. From my family to yours, happy Thanksgiving.


Andrew D. Martin