As you return from Thanksgiving and prepare for Christmas celebrations, it is an appropriate time to remind ourselves of our values and our commitment to all of the people who make up the UE community. This seems particularly important in the aftermath of a presidential election campaign that appealed too often to our fears and anxieties, a campaign that left many wondering whether we can work together to secure the future that all of us desire – regardless of partisan affinity or views on the array of complex issues the world faces today.

At the University of Evansville, we understand that the key to this future is education and awareness of our common cause.  As our mission statement says, “The University values learning as a means of attaining freedom from ignorance and prejudice.” Moreover, we are passionately convicted to the principle that such learning must be global, that the members of this community engage the world with energy and confidence. We will continue to do so, for our global view is a powerful contributor to the transformative educational experience for all of our students.

The UE experience is also one in which the people in this community are able to learn and to teach in an environment that treats its members with decency and respect and fundamentally values freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination. These values are our lifeblood, and our commitment to them cannot flag even as we navigate new waters in the years ahead.  Intolerance or harassment directed at any individual or group will not be permitted, for such actions are fundamentally inconsistent with our University and community values.

It is critical, as well, that we understand that our pledge to recognize the dignity of all is especially meaningful for international students whose confidence that they have made a good choice to come to the United States and to UE may have been shaken by the rhetoric of the presidential campaign. To our international students, let my message be unequivocal:  UE is a better place because you are here. We are deeply committed to your welfare, and the University will support you without reservation.

A distinctive strength of the University is its abiding embrace of values that transcend partisan division and rancor. We come together to learn, to grow, and to support each other. None of this has changed.  If there is one truth of which I’m absolutely confident, it is that the people of the University of Evansville will continue to honor the traditions and values that make the University an institution of remarkable character, quality, and impact.