Linton Hall and the Resilient Tree on the MSU Campus

To the Class of 2024: Embarking on an Education for Action

Chris Long

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Dear MSU Class of 2024,

Welcome to Michigan State University and to the College of Arts & Letters!

You are embarking on an education that will forever shape the course of your life.

At the very moment you begin this journey of personal transformation in your life, we are living through an intense period of transformation in our society. The pandemic has caused us to move this semester online to protect the health and safety of our community. Our physical distance, however, diminishes neither the enthusiasm with which we welcome you to MSU nor our commitment to connect you to one another, our faculty, and the resources you need to be successful.

In the midst of this pandemic, we also are reckoning with a legacy of anti-Black racism that must be redressed through intentional action. The education we aspire to provide in the College of Arts & Letters is designed to be an education for action. We seek to cultivate the intellectual, ethical, and emotional capacities that will empower you to create a more just and beautiful world.

This summer, we lost John Lewis, intrepid leader of the Civil Rights movement, a powerful voice for non-violent transformative change. John Lewis stands as a model to us all as a person who put his core commitments to love and non-violence into action in everything he did. In a New York Times op-ed published after his death, Lewis wrote:

Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the beloved community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

A world at peace with itself is one in which the values we espouse are woven into the fabric of the communities we create. The vital work of building a society at peace with itself requires the cultivation of ethical candor, a commitment to being honest with ourselves as we seek to live up to the values that animate our lives. In her book, Eloquent Rage, Brittany Cooper emphasizes…

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Chris Long

MSU Foundation Professor, Dean of the College of Arts & Letters and of the MSU Honors College; Co-Founder of @PubPhilJ; Co-PI of @HuMetricsHSS.