A message from Chancellor Diermeier to students: Shaping the outcome of this semester

Dear Vanderbilt students,

Welcome to the spring semester, which begins today for many of you and began earlier this month for others. While this year has started with challenges, I have a renewed sense of optimism and possibility.

Whether on campus or engaging remotely, Vanderbilt students will shape the outcome of the year ahead. Your continued resilience and support for each other is essential as we move forward. Our common purpose as a university and our commitment to critical research and residential learning have never been stronger or more important.

As we mentioned in the most recent Return to Campus updates, COVID-19 will continue to affect our daily lives. Our faculty and staff members have been working around the clock to apply the lessons learned from this fall, drawing on the expertise of our partners at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Through our testing, residential life, classroom protocols and the Commodores Care period that starts today, we are confident we can be successful—but our collective success will hinge on your diligence.

At the same time, we must look beyond the pandemic and find ways to drive unity, a shared purpose and progress in our society. From last week’s virtual programming in honor of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to the launch of the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy, which aims to heal societal divisions through civil discourse and evidence-based scholarship, Vanderbilt is as committed as ever to learning from history and having a positive impact on the world.

Each of you is central to this common purpose and to the success of our historic moment—a moment that challenges us deeply and, in so doing, makes us stronger and more resilient. It is my hope and belief that for you, our students, what you have learned about yourselves and your abilities during this time will serve to make you even more capable and engaged in the future—as citizens, thinkers and leaders.

We are running a tough marathon, and this may be the hardest part. The semester ahead will require us to dig even deeper, to step up and to lean on one another as One Vanderbilt. Together, we can finish what we started—and finish strong.

Thank you all for your commitment to the Vanderbilt community. I wish you all a fulfilling start to what is sure to be an extraordinary semester.


Daniel Diermeier
Chancellor, Vanderbilt University