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A Thanksgiving message from Chancellor Diermeier

Nov. 23, 2020, 10:54 AM

Each year at this time, our society observes the valuable tradition of looking back and giving thanks. We reflect on the opportunities we’ve been given, the challenges we’ve faced, the lessons we’ve learned and the progress we’ve made. We recognize the people who have supported and inspired us—and the values that have helped us move forward in our lifelong aspiration to succeed to our fullest potential and to make a positive impact in the lives of others.

This year brings a uniquely important moment to celebrate this tradition, and it is my great pleasure to say thank you to the Vanderbilt community.

I am tremendously grateful for the warm welcome I’ve received as Vanderbilt’s new chancellor and for the opportunity to lead this remarkable institution during a historic time. It may bring more challenges, but it will also present future opportunities. I am awed by the determined and compassionate spirit that has propelled our students’ learning so far this year.

The decision to bring students back to campus during the COVID-19 pandemic was not easy, and its successful outcome required everyone at Vanderbilt to Anchor Down and Step Up. Faculty responded to the call to continue our mission to provide world-class instruction and conduct groundbreaking research in the face of new limitations that demanded unprecedented and innovative approaches. Staff worked together for tireless hours and with remarkable creativity to accomplish the formidable task of keeping all students informed, fully engaged and as safe as possible. Finally, students demonstrated that they were more than capable of assuming responsibility for public health—and that they could adapt and thrive under unique circumstances, whether learning remotely or in person.

While this year has presented tremendous challenges, it is imperative that we draw upon our institutional values to learn and grow while moving forward as one community. Similarly, we will continue our collaborative scholarship to address critical global issues. We will do all of this with the common purpose that makes us One Vanderbilt.

I encourage everyone at Vanderbilt to use the coming Thanksgiving holiday for well-deserved celebration, rest and reflection. We have achieved a great deal and have more great work and good times to come. Anchor Down, rest up, and have a happy Thanksgiving.


Daniel Diermeier