The month of May is fast approaching. Debating whether spring is here to stay or if we may continue to have reminders of a long winter. Trying to figure out how to get all the big and little things on our to-do lists done, even knowing many items may be carryovers til who knows when. If we took our own advice more seriously, we would be doing some deep breathing, making sure we see the early flowers popping up and trees beginning to bud, and pausing to reflect on all that we have lived with and lived through over the year. With that in mind, we want to focus a moment to celebrate the positives of the last several months. It’s easy to focus on that which weighs us down while not seeing colleagues who have broken through in different ways and accomplished things we can celebrate with them. Hence, the focus of this blog. While our list is not comprehensive, we want to highlight several things that remind us of the positives and help give that needed boost.
First, we draw attention to the upcoming All-University Awards Ceremony on May 11th where many from across the university will be formally celebrated for their excellence in teaching, community-engaged scholarship, and faculty and academic staff leadership. See the list of internal awardees. These awards acknowledge only those given within the University, while the state, national and international affirmations of excellence of faculty, staff, and students are too numerous to list. Especially when times are tough, it is important to realize that “productivity” takes many forms including those we traditionally recognize at a research university but also those that reflect the humanity, care, respect, and inclusive approaches taken by awardees in their respective spheres.
In addition, we anticipate in-person graduation ceremonies in a few weeks as a major accomplishment for students at all levels and those educators, staff, family, and friends who supported them. We cheer with our partners across campus in the strides we have been making on the well-being of faculty, staff, and students, even while we continue to look for ways to support each other. We celebrate with mixed emotions the departure of Beronda Montgomery, who moves into leadership at Grinnell College, and thank her again for her many contributions throughout her tenure at MSU including her work with this office and so many of you. We consider with similar feelings the upcoming retirements and departures of those educators and staff across the campus who championed core values and contributed in so many ways we won’t likely fully realize for months to come, even while we wish them the very best in their chosen paths. And we optimistically look forward to the fall and welcoming new students (who garnered a spot during the many dedicated recruitment efforts of the spring including the recent, inaugural Admitted Student Day) and after the well-earned respite during the summer months.
Of course, the list goes on and on of reasons to celebrate what we individually and collectively have accomplished that led us to this point in the year. As we continue to turn the kaleidoscope of our lives as members of the MSU community, we hopefully see that the pieces of our best selves are there – not always organized in the best way or to the best ends, but that with a small turn of the dial, things do fall into place and we see a different version and vision of what can be. Just as the weather changes from snow to warm and sunny in the same week.