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Dean of Gateway addresses letter to students

Photo by Scott Cook

Campus life post-March 2020 has not been easy. Young people have had to engage directly with the impacts of a global pandemic, economic challenges, environmental crisis, international conflict, racial reckoning, and political unrest. The stress, trauma, fear, and pain has never been more real, especially for many of you as college students.

I often think about what I would do if I was in your shoes. Would I have had the courage to attend college during these complicated times? Would I have left the comfort of my home and family to live with strangers on campus during a pandemic? Would I have had the strength to manage so much unknown when faced with so much uncertainty and worry? Would I have trusted adults after witnessing those entrusted to lead engage in serious failures of misjudgment and action at the expense of society, health, and humanity?

Honestly, I’m not sure. But there is one thing I do know—every single day I have the opportunity to witness incredible young people on our campus engage in powerful work with unbelievable strength.

You continue to shine in the classroom, on the court, in the field, and with the community. I watch how you take care of one another, stretch beyond your comfort zone, celebrate the shared wins, and learn from your mistakes with your head held high (even though it hurts). You continue to show up, step up, and lean into issues you care about on campus, asking important questions of your peers and our administrators (including me) about inclusion, tuition, academics, and mental health resources with the intention of building a better Rollins that is equitable and just. Many of you carry additional financial and family burdens; trauma and pain around loss; personal impact around diverse religious, racial, and cultural identities; and additional challenges that others may not know or see. You manage an academic life, work life, and social life in ways I could not have been able to handle as a young adult.

I share all of this with great humility knowing that what you have accomplished this year is not easy. Your strength and resilience is inspiring and motivating. Watching so many of you unfold and grow over these past few years is why so many of us have dedicated our professional lives to education. It’s times like these, and students like you, that create a sense of purpose and urgency for me to continue to work as hard as I can to create the conditions for college students to fully engage in campus life and our mission.

As we end this academic year please know this—your faculty, staff, coaches, and administrators are proud of you and all you have accomplished. These moments will forever be part of your journey and story. I see you and am deeply inspired by your commitment as learners, leaders, and agents of progress and change.

Continue to shine. Fiat Lux!

Micki Meyer
Lord Family Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs for Engagement
Dean of Rollins Gateway

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