Letter: In Honor of the 2020 and 2021 SDSU Graduates

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San Diego State University President Adela de la Torre addresses the attendees of her inauguration in 2019.

by Adela de la Torre, SDSU President

To our SDSU graduates,

When we honor you later this month, know that you are making history.

As much as this last year will be remembered for its many challenges, the classes of 2020 and 2021 will be remembered for their incredible resilience, tenacity, inherent curiosity, compassion and, most of all, courage. You achieved success during one of the most challenging periods in a generation.

This year, even virtually, hundreds of SDSU students danced during the nationally recognized Dance Marathon at SDSU, raising more than $372,000 for patients and families at Rady Children’s Hospital of San Diego – refusing to give up this important effort even during a pandemic.

Our men’s basketball team followed a record-breaking season of 26 back-to-back wins by hanging two new banners in Viejas Arena this year: one as Mountain West Conference champions, the other as Mountain West Tournament winners. And Klara Thormalm of the SDSU swimming and diving team received Mountain West Swimmer of the Year, an incredible two years in a row.

At the same time, more than 300 SDSU nursing students were trained to administer COVID-19 vaccines all across San Diego, and they are actively contributing to statewide reopening plans. That includes our commencement ceremony.

Each of these examples make us proud as fellow Aztecs.

When I reflect on everything you experienced over the past year, I am also impressed with how you made your voices heard on vital issues of equity, justice and basic human rights – not just for some but for everyone. That speaks to your character. You are stronger and better prepared for whatever life brings because of what you accomplished, and when. If anyone wants to know what it takes to maintain focus and commitment in chaos and uncertainty, they can look to our 2020 and 2021 graduating classes. You have not only shown you have what it takes to earn your degrees, you have shown you have the resilience and spirit to conquer whatever lies ahead. You will be stronger in the job market and in your future because of it.

After so much disruption since the first confirmed COVID-19 cases, our celebrations this month signal a renewal. We look to a hopeful future, backed by strong scientific indicators. People are getting vaccinated by the millions. More jobs are returning to normal and new jobs are being created every day.

I have no doubt that as you take your place in the larger world outside this university, you will continue to use all you have learned and experienced to stand up for others, to be good stewards of the planet and to be advocates for the kinds of change and reform our nation and world need.

We consider you a permanent part of the SDSU family, no matter where your dreams and careers may take you.

You all have the power to make a difference. You have the power to help change the world. You already are.

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