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Be the change

Be the change

Eric F. Spina July 21, 2021

The class of 2021 started scripting the future before its students even moved into their residence halls. Now, they’re ready to live it.

After receiving their UD acceptance letters, they helped create a work of art — a bold floor-to-ceiling mural in the Office of Admission with their scribbled plans for changing the world.

When I walk through Albert Emanuel Hall, I linger, inspired by the dreams of this generation: “Give your gifts.” “Make all feel loved.” “Protect the world.” “Engineer new products.” “Inspire for the common good.”

Words of inspiration and innovation penned by incoming students were made into a
mural by artist Timothy Goodman.


And what turned out to be a forerunner to their unusual senior year, these words now hold new meaning: “Promote health.”

In the “Hopes and Dreams” feature, members of this class lifted their pens once again. Their parting words make a fitting bookend to their UD experience, which began and ended with hope. When asked to share their dreams on the cusp of graduation, some wrote personal aspirations: “In the future, I hope to find myself living authentically through the people around me.” Others expressed their desire for a better world: “We as a society can unite with our differences and love one another and ourselves.”

The Class of 2021 entered with the idealism of youth and, four years later, leaves with a commitment to be instruments of change in the world. Change always starts with yourself, and these new graduates are changed people.

“Change always starts with yourself.”

This class successfully navigated a year unlike any other by leaning into their Flyer spirit and giving each other grace. Their ability to work with ambiguity means they’ll be able to face uncertainties, adapt to change, and be flexible as life’s mysteries unfold in magical and sometimes confounding ways. They will lead us out of the pandemic into a future they will shape.

During spring commencement ceremonies, I shared the words of author Yasmin Mogahed, who wrote, “Happiness, sadness, loss and gain all pass away.  What they do to us is what remains.” 

As the Class of 2021 writes a new chapter, their words on a wall and in the pages of their magazine will remain etched in their hearts … and ours.

A promise fulfilled