Reflecting on the past several months, there are so many highlights that I could share with you. Stories of our amazing students who have come together during the second year of a global pandemic with positivity,
creativity, and a zest for learning. Stories of our resilient faculty and staff who gracefully endured that pandemic and the extra work it added – I will not ever take these amazing people for granted. Stories of our incredible alumni and friends who returned to campus this fall to celebrate not one, but two honor classes as a part of Homecoming 2021.
In the fall of 2020, we put together a comprehensive plan for our students to return to Graceland for in-person learning on both of our campuses. There have been numerous bumps and learning opportunities along the way, but the guiding principle of our Toward Together plan was the health and safety of our community.
For our students, their health meant being together, in person, experiencing their formative years as young adults. The Graceland Experience on the Lamoni campus is deepened by the feeling of belonging that our students get when they are in each other’s lives – learning, playing, laughing, growing side-by-side.
As we went into the fall of 2021, we watched global health statistics closely, hoping against hope that we would be able to welcome our beloved alumni and friends back to campus for Homecoming. When we ultimately made the call and the attendees began to RSVP, I could sense that same desire in our alumni that our students have – to be together.
Togetherness is the theme of this issue. In many ways, it is the theme of Graceland University. We are better when we are together, intertwining our lives and experiences in a way that helps us to feel that we belong. Late Graceland President Emeritus William T. Higdon was someone that constantly made me feel that I belong at Graceland and I will miss his wisdom and counsel. His impact on the University made us all better. He brought us closer. He helped us feel that we belong.
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