Dear members of the University of Miami community,
Last week, I had the honor of meeting with representatives from the UM Veteran Student Organization. While our meeting took place on the occasion of Veterans Day, it also offered a moment of reflection as we enter the Thanksgiving season.
Our conversation was both thoughtful and thought-provoking. It was a welcome reminder that while veterans appreciate our thanks for their service and their sacrifice, they also want us all to remember the many contributions they can make to our community through their unique experiences. Giving back is the unifying principle at the heart of the Veteran Student Organization and is at the core of so much of the work our students, faculty, and staff do every day.
Our discussion brought to mind that Veterans Day is observed as Remembrance Day in many countries that honor the end of World War I. That act, to remember—or, more importantly, to not forget—is one of the most significant tributes we can pay to others.
As we approach the holiday season, our minds and hearts turn to expressions of gratitude—for others and for the many blessings we have. But I am also mindful that many have suffered personal losses. Our University continues to mourn the tragic loss of three of our students this semester: Yasser Abualfaraj, Roman Deana, and Baylie Grogan. Beyond our immediate community, we have witnessed devastating occurrences—from senseless violence and hatred to natural disasters—that can test our sense of gratitude.
I ask that during the weeks ahead we transform our gratitude and our intention to remember into an abiding drive to make a positive difference through our actions and interactions. In the spirit of giving, let us set an example through our compassion, respect, and consideration for others.
We have much to be grateful for. Let us never forget that.
With best wishes for a peaceful Thanksgiving,