Nov. 21, 2018
Dear Gonzaga Students and Colleagues,
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day—a holiday that provides us the opportunity to reflect upon both the blessings in our lives, as well as the opportunities before us.
We are constantly surrounded by evidence of challenge and suffering – from the recent, devastating wildfires in California, to the massacre of the eleven members of the Tree of Life Synagogue congregation during their Shabbat services earlier this fall, to the quiet daily challenges faced by individual families in our own Gonzaga community.
But these challenges also provide us the opportunity to come together in support, love and deeper understanding. Ari Mahler is an emergency room trauma nurse at Allegheny General Hospital; he treated the suspected gunman Robert Bower following the shootings at Tree of Life Synagogue. As Mr. Mahler wrote in a social media post describing his role as “The Jewish Nurse” one week after the horrific incident: “Love as an action is more powerful than words, and love in the face of evil gives others hope. It demonstrates humanity. It reaffirms why we’re all here. The meaning of life is to give meaning to life, and love is the ultimate force that connects all living beings.”
During this time of thanksgiving I find myself reflecting upon these moments of love—the moments that make us truly grateful despite all of the inevitable challenges and sadness surrounding recent national and campus events. I feel very blessed to work alongside all of you: our devoted staff and faculty, our Jesuit community, our innovative and courageous students, and our committed Trustees, Regents and supporters. In a community such as ours, it is possible to witness countless acts of love and care on a daily basis. I remain certain that as long as we continue to choose love, to pursue truth, to care for our fellow human beings, and to serve our world in meaningful ways, we will find abundant cause for the giving of thanks, each and every day.
So—thank you for many ways in which you contribute to our community. Without your commitment, creativity and the high standards that you uphold in your work and education, this university would not be where it is today. I wish you a Thanksgiving filled with abundance and love.
With sincere gratitude,
Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil.