Message to the Class of 2020
Dear Department of History Graduates of 2020,
Congratulations on your graduation! All of us in the History Department who have worked with you during your time at Stanford are very proud of you.
Graduation is always a bittersweet moment, but this spring has been a difficult and unprecedented challenge for all of you. The need to move most of you off campus and to continue your education remotely has been smooth for some but challenging for many. The faculty and staff in the History Department have done our best to provide a meaningful final quarter for you, but I am sure many of you have experienced disappointment—not just intellectually, but also emotionally, as you took leave from your many friends, teachers, and others on campus who make a Stanford education so memorable. I wish it had been otherwise.
As I think of our students scattered around the country and abroad, I worry about the inconsistency of public health measures being implemented in different places. I hope all of you will heed expert, professional guidance and try to protect yourselves from the consequences of expedient decisions taken by cynical politicians. Please prioritize your health and safety.
Although these are difficult times, you have received a valuable education here at Stanford. As historians, you've learned to understand and evaluate a current crisis not just from within its confusion, but from the perspective of our collective historical experience, and to use your understanding to help see a way past it. Despite all the challenges that lie before you, we hope that you are able to use your Stanford education to do good in the world. The world certainly needs the many gifts and talents you have to offer, now more than ever.
I wish all of you the best of luck. Please keep in touch with the History Department and let us know about your future adventures and achievements.
Matthew H. Sommer
Professor and Chair,
Department of History
For more information on the Stanford University Commencement Virtual Celebration visit the Stanford 2020 Commencement Celebration website.