The artist penned a touching letter to the 2020 graduating class.
“First, congratulations. Second, congratulations and third, congratulations for accomplishing what at times may have seemed a gargantuan task in the age of distraction — receiving a diploma for years of focus and commitment to scholarship,” the message begins. “I know this message finds you in the unique and unprecedented circumstance of a graduation ceremony held remotely, but for the safety of you and your families consider this the beginning of a significant story you’ll have to share with those that follow you. For this time is indeed historic, and if we’re paying attention, pregnant with purpose. Purpose is powerful. The work one puts his or her hands to with purpose attached, becomes charged, activated and often deeply meaningful. Purpose-filled acts can change lives, move communities and alter the course of history.”
“The world desperately needs youthful optimism and people prepared to help lead and guide its course with wisdom and informed perspective,” she writes elsewhere. ‘Make no mistake, our times aren’t easy, but they aren’t impossible to alter and positively affect either.”
“Be that intelligence. Be that ingenuity. Be that optimism. Be that light,” she writes toward the end of the message. “I look forward to experiencing the impact of your particular charge and contributions to the world. Don’t be afraid to shine in your most authentic form, nor should you be afraid to self-reflect and fine tune that light as you go.”
Temple University’s class of 2020 includes 10,430 degree recipients in the 2019–2020 academic year, making it the school’s largest class to date. The school had an onlinne celebration for the class as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.