Message from GW President Steven Knapp

Dr. Knapp discusses GW community responses to events at Missouri and Howard universities.

November 13, 2015

Recent events at the University of Missouri and closer to home at Howard University, where many of our students and faculty members have friends and colleagues, have raised serious concerns across our university community. Such events remind us of our collective responsibility to ensure that all George Washington students feel genuinely welcome and are fully supported as they strive to achieve their aspirations.

Institutions of higher education can only achieve excellence if they embrace the talents, experience, and contributions of students from all backgrounds. Indeed, our democracy as a whole can thrive only if the doors of educational opportunity at all levels are fully and visibly open to members of all the communities that make up the fabric of our nation.

In my first year at GW, I had the privilege of conferring an honorary doctoral degree on the first person I invited to give our Commencement address: the late civil rights leader and advocate extraordinaire Julian Bond. In that speech, he said to our graduating students, "Our future as a nation depends on our willingness to continue to reach into the racial cleavage that defines American society and to change the racial contours of our world."

GW students have responded to national events in a remarkably thoughtful and empathetic way, and I encourage all of us to join them in that spirit and to keep the dialogue going.

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