“I’d like to think this issue of Bridgewater stands as a testament to what we can accomplish when we work together, care for each other, and face off against a threat that was and remains all too real.”
Standing on the stage at Gillette Stadium during the four commencement ceremonies held in late July, I couldn’t have been prouder of what I saw. The faces looking back at me expressed a mixture of happiness, pride and resiliency. In short, you, Bridgewater State University graduates of 2020 and 2021, resembled the champions that usually occupy that field. For you had persevered through one of the most daunting times in history and emerged on the other side to claim your hard-earned diplomas and to celebrate both times past and the bright futures that lay ahead of you.
And now to the entire BSU community, I say welcome back.
These words were meant to present an unequivocal declaration that the worst of the pandemic and its myriad impacts were behind us. Like so many around the world, we were hoping life would return fully to normal by the start of the academic year, and the pandemic that began in late 2019 would be relegated to the history books. For many reasons, primarily the emergence of the Delta variant of COVID-19, this turned out not to be the case.
However, thanks to the hard work, perseverance and determination of so many of you, BSU’s students are back on campus safely enjoying their time together in classrooms, in residence halls, on the quad and in the countless nooks and crannies of our campus where we gather to share our collective humanity. That, to me, represents the best of what I like to call the Bridgewater way.
In these pages, you will see the fruits of our collaborative efforts, from a successful commencement season to this year’s busy move-in days, to a snapshot of what’s new on campus (to be sure, the pandemic was not going to stop BSU from continuing its constant push to do better). There are stories concerning the pursuit and achievement of excellence, how faculty and alumni have dealt with new teaching paradigms necessitated by the pandemic, groundbreaking research, and news and photos from recent events that brought us all together. I’d like to think this issue of Bridgewater stands as a testament to what we can accomplish when we work together, care for each other, and face off against a threat that was and remains all too real.
All this has allowed us to return to the semblance of normalcy that marked the beginning of this academic year. And while we are all weary of this battle, now is not the time to let our collective guard down. As I said in the early days of the pandemic, we’ve got this. And we still do.
When times are tough, I bear in mind that if not for our trials, history would be unable to take the measure of us. For when it does, I’m confident the verdict will be that the special people who comprise the Bridgewater State University family in 2021 were equal to the challenge.
With warmest regards,
President Frederick W. Clark Jr.