Graceland Forever

Harry J. Ashenhurst, PhD

We are living in amazing times. The events of the year 2020 have tested the world, including Graceland, in defining who we are, who we have been and who we aspire to be. 

As a nation and a world, we have shared many challenges together this year: the COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest and turmoil, economic disruption and political turbulence. 

As a university, we have responded to those challenges with initiatives and solutions: a redefined face-to-face educational environment for the pandemic, new academic and social programs for additional inclusion and social change, and initiatives that focus on the sustainability of a strong future for the university.

As we near the end of this challenging year, Graceland continues the work that will provide for students, faculty and staff, as well as our communities, in 2021 and beyond. The university has renewed its focus on who we are in the rapidly changing world of higher education while staying true to our core values and mission as an institution. We continue to foster growth in our students’ understanding and compassion of the world around them, and we guide them as they develop into better citizens and whole persons entering a world riddled with challenges but full of possibilities.

As I look at our Graceland communities of learning, I see a resilience that reminds me of our past and gives me hope for our future. In this challenging year, we celebrate 125 years as an institution of higher learning. It’s a 125-year history during which we confronted adversity and challenges, and from them, we built opportunities and hope.

Gracelanders continue to “dig in,” and together — students, alumni, faculty, administration — we build stronger communities and stronger people who are fighting on every front for a better world — in the next 125 years and beyond.

As Gracelanders, when we say the words, “Graceland forever,” we know their meaning to be full of truth and endurance.

Harry J. Ashenhurst, PhD, ’70 
Chair, Graceland University Board of Trustees