Brian Krach headshotTo my fellow Class of 2020 Graduates:

I have heard runners say that the final leg of a race is the most difficult, and this seems to make sense. Maybe they go too hard out of the gate and find themselves hitting the proverbial wall. Or, knowing the end is near, the temptation of complacency creeps in and they begin to coast. Nonetheless, I imagine that a powerful resolve to finish what was started kicks in. That determination to complete what one has worked so hard for wills them over the line with gusto.

This analogy rang true for us as students as we entered the home-stretch of our last semester, except for one important caveat. Unbeknownst to us, as we rounded the final corner, there was an invisible tornado blocking our path to the finish line.

It is easy to overstate adversity in times like these; however, today is not a day to sacrifice acknowledgement of achievement in deference to humility. The challenges we have faced and overcome this semester while in dogged pursuit of our educational goals have been nothing short of remarkable. Some of us have faced serious health scares and employment uncertainty. Others have had to unexpectedly adjust to having children home from school indefinitely while juggling work responsibilities. Spouses and partners have added stresses of their own that cannot be ignored.

We cleared all these additional hurdles while also remaining dedicated to school, albeit physically disconnected from the intellectually nurturing environment of campus and our professors. Thus, our graduating class will not be defined by the circumstances that currently keep us apart; instead, we will be empowered with the perseverance it took to cross the finish line. It is this tenacity that will carry us forward through future challenges.

In conclusion, to everyone graduating I want to extend sincere congratulations and best wishes for future endeavors. Whether you have earned a professional certificate, a graduate degree, or like me, your first bachelor’s degree, I hope you all take time to reflect on your impressive accomplishments and celebrate with friends and family (while maintaining responsible social distancing guidelines of course).

Personally, I have enjoyed getting to know many of you through our classes together and it has enriched my overall experience. Likewise, the instruction and mentorship I have received from SPCS faculty has been unforgettable. When I decided to return to higher education after a nearly two-decade break, I underestimated how important both of my previous sentiments would be to my educational journey. This speaks to the strength of the University of Richmond and SPCS community, but most of all, to the importance of the SPCS program in helping students like us pursue their goals and dreams.

—Brian Krach, C’20