Letter From The Purple Shadows

mr. ryan,

THE SOCIETY OF THE PURPLE SHADOWS celebrates your return to the University as its ninth president. your authenticity, devotion to education, and servant leadership are distinguishable qualities that will drive the University forward and upward. our student and alumni communities eagerly await your guidance, passion, and enthusiasm.

your commitment to lifelong learning is evident from your undergraduate experience at yale university, your time at the University’s law school, and as the dean of the harvard graduate school of education. the extensive research that you have conducted at the intersection of education and race proves your unremitting dedication to advancing society. while your responsibilities as president differ from those of a professor, never cease in your pursuit of knowledge and the power of the illimitable mind.

student self-governance is at the core of our university. harness, value, and challenge the student voice. listen to the pulse of the student body as it will reveal a unique and equitable pathway to developing our community. collaborate with leaders on grounds to intertwine the desires of undergraduate and graduate students with the direction of the University. however, do not stray from challenging student opinion as it contributes to improvement of the individual and the collective. be bold in your pursuit of evolving the University by holding true to your passion for education.

you assume the helm of our community at a unique and important time in the University’s history – a history characterized by slavery and injustice. acknowledge the inequality and oppression that are baked into every brick of the academical village with an eye towards empowerment and excellence. the events of august eleventh and twelfth are not isolated incidents, but rather the incessant reality for minority members of our community. as we approach our bicentennial, the University must look both backward and forward in time, recognizing our history of white supremacy and striving for equity.

sir, ken robinson once said, “if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” mr. ryan, it is your duty to make difficult and impactful decisions to guide our institution into its next two hundred years. THE SOCIETY eagerly awaits your tenure as president.



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