As we prepare to pause and give thanks for all of the things for which we ought to be grateful, I am reminded of the history of this national holiday. In the darkest hours of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln called for the celebration of Thanksgiving to “heal the wounds of the nation.” Over 150 years later, the United States continues to face significant issues, some of which divide us and are a source of strife; however, Thanksgiving provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon both the blessings we do have in our lives, as well as the opportunities that lie before us. Our country is known as the land of opportunity, a nation built upon the promise of true freedom and liberty for all; as a result, we are a nation enriched by the spirit, values and voices of many cultures, faiths, beliefs and perspectives. This alone is worthy of celebration.
Despite the current as well as inevitable challenges we face, the issues that may divide us, and the concerns we share, we are blessed in our common unity as people devoted to the pursuit of truth, the care of our fellow human beings, and service for the common good. I remain truly grateful that each of you has made the decision to be a part of this university, and for the many ways in which you contribute to the life of our community.
I hope that, along with the opportunity to think about all of our blessings over these next few days, you will also have a chance to reenergize before the final push of the term, enjoying the company of your families and friends, as we give thanks in a special way for those who bring special meaning to our lives. I pray for safe travel for those of you making trips, and for an enthusiastic return for all of us to the collaborative work to which we have dedicated ourselves.
Thayne M. McCulloh, President
November 23, 2016