Last Day of Classes

Dear Students,

The other day, I came across a poem written by Heather Christle, an Emory professor of English and creative writing, titled “Everything Fastened Together.” One part jumped out at me: 

The whole world
must be asleep
I cannot take it
I’m going to wake
the clouds up
with non-stop singing

Professor Christle’s poem led me to reflect, and these words, in their depth and mystery, reminded me of you—our incredible students. Last August, at the start of the academic year, it felt as if the world was asleep and that life on our campus would never regain its spirit and energy. But then you arrived, and everything changed.

No matter the challenges you faced—and the pandemic presented many—you always found ways to bring joy, enthusiasm, ambition, and compassion to our homes in Atlanta and Oxford.

It began in the classrooms, labs, studios, and libraries where you learned, conducted research, undertook creative projects, and excelled in your academic pursuits. You dedicated time to the metro Atlanta community, applying your knowledge to help K-12 students, families, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and our university in a variety of ways through internships, fellowships, and research and volunteer opportunities. And then there are the indelible moments, like Songfest, when our first-year students rocked the WoodPEC with unforgettable performances; the Wonderful Wednesday events on Asbury Circle and McDonough Plaza, where you gathered to support important causes, celebrate holidays, play games, and just have fun; the Homecoming and 2O36 festivities on the Quad; the Emory Athletics competitions including the men’s swimming and diving team’s national championship victory; and much more.

Throughout this long pandemic, our sense of community at Emory has been limited. This academic year, you brought it back and made sure this entire university remembered what it feels like to learn and discover together.           

On this day, the last day of classes, I thank you for making that possible and wish you the very best on your finals and projects. To those who are graduating in a few weeks, I can’t wait to see you on the Quad and celebrate all you have achieved at Emory. Pace yourselves, support one another, and enjoy the moment—just as you have throughout these past eight months at Emory.  


Gregory L. Fenves

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