Posted on December 11, 2020
As English Department Head, I’d like to offer, on behalf of our faculty and staff, sincere congratulations on your graduation. These last two semesters have been rather different than what you signed up for, and it’s a testament to your perseverance that you can celebrate this achievement.
An old joke about graduation is that diplomas are the first thing students get from a University that they actually want to read. But in an English Department, the joke doesn’t work. Whether you’re receiving a BA, an MFA, an MA, or a PhD, you’ve devoted yourself to reading carefully and writing skillfully. These skills have long been essential to a healthy society, and they always will be.
Another cliché about diplomas is that once you’ve received one, it can never be taken away. There are few other things about which that can be said. You probably recall hitting send on your last assignment, writing the last sentence on your last exam, or submitting your thesis. That moment will likely remain—and should remain—a source of well-earned satisfaction. A warning here: you will probably have dreams at some point that you’re back in college and somehow you need to take another class, and you can’t find the classroom, and everything has gone horribly wrong. But you’ll wake up and still be a graduate of UNCG. Even better, you’ll be a graduate of the UNCG English Department.
I hope you understand how proud the faculty is of the graduating class of 2020. I talk with colleagues on a daily basis about their classes, and it’s rare that a conversation will pass without someone bragging on one or more of their students. As faculty, we feel tremendously fortunate to have the students that we do. More than a few of us have had opportunities to move to higher paying jobs, and the students we have the opportunity to teach here are very often the reason we’ve stayed. We hope these feelings are reciprocated, but even if not, please know how we feel.
Please keep in touch—via email, stopping by if you’re on campus, through social media, or even in an old-fashioned letter. If you ever need a letter or recommendation or career advice, we’re still here. We’ve put together a short video to mark the occasion, and while we’re sorry that we can’t see you today in person, we congratulate you on receiving your degree!