Monday Moments with President Bergman: January 25, 2021

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff each week.
Posted on January 25th, 2021 by

What a week it was!

President Rebecca M. Bergman

In a more typical year, January Term offers us the opportunity to step back from our everyday tasks to either catch up on important projects or take the unique opportunity to dive deeply into a topic of interest. This year, with all that is going on in the world, in our nation, and here at Gustavus, it seems like January has been busier than ever.

Last week, we saw the inauguration of a new president of the United States in Joe Biden. Always a historic event, Inauguration Day was especially notable this year because of restrictions due to COVID-19 and increased security due to the events of January 6 at the Capitol. It was historic, too, for the fact that Kamala Harris became the first woman, first Black American, and first person of South Asian heritage to serve as Vice President of the United States.

Watching the Inauguration, I was so pleased to see the inclusion of Georgia firefighter Andrea Hall, who led the Pledge of Allegiance in American Sign Language, and young Los Angeles poet Amanda Gorman, whose moving performance so eloquently laid out a vision for all of us to move forward together. Her poem acknowledged the hurt that people are feeling right now, people from many different backgrounds, political beliefs, and economic situations. And yet, I consider the ending to her poem to be a rallying cry for America and an inspiration to all people.

For there is always light/

if only we’re brave enough to see it/
if only we’re brave enough to be it.
As the pageantry of a Presidential Inauguration played out in our nation’s capital, the Gustavus President’s Cabinet was meeting virtually for our winter retreat, planning and dreaming about the College’s short- and long-term future.

Things are tough right now for the world, the country, and Gustavus as we all continue to take on the COVID-19 pandemic and all the changes we have been forced to navigate. And yet, there is a light at the end of the tunnel as we anticipate the continued roll-out of the vaccine. Even as we deal with day-to-day inconveniences and setbacks due to the pandemic, we steadfastly look toward a brighter future. We are in the midst of our ambitious strategic plan. We continue to lean into our efforts around racial justice and inclusion. We will soon be taking action on several of the College’s key environmental sustainability initiatives. In all of these ways, we are acting on issues that are important to Gustavus and to the world.

Gusties, as we prepare to start the second semester and look ahead with optimism and a can-do spirit, I ask you this:

Are we brave enough to see it?

Are we brave enough to be it?

I think we are. Let’s move forward together.

Until next week, Gusties, keep up the good work.

Yours in community,

President Bergman


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