Dear MPH Community,
As I look forward to Commencement this Sunday, I am smiling in anticipation of what I know will be a joyful celebration of our graduates’ well-earned achievements. As I have been closely involved in the careful planning for this year’s historic celebration, I have witnessed firsthand our educators’ heartfelt pride in, and love for, our students. I know that this year’s Commencement will be especially meaningful for our graduates and for the MPH community.
At the same time, I’ll admit that my heart is heavy. I cannot ignore the fact that I am writing this in the midst of collective anguish and outrage over the systemic racism that exists and persists in our nation and in our communities. I want to reach out with particular care for our MPH students, families, faculty, staff, and alumni of color during this time of deep grief and frustration. MPH’s mission to inspire our students to think critically and to act responsibly has never been more vital than right now.
Over the past several weeks, problems stemming from our nation’s history have been thrown into high relief. The pandemic has laid bare the inequalities in our healthcare system. The killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless others have exposed – again and again – the injustices in our justice system.
Our MPH values do not call us to look away. We do not treat these challenges as intellectual exercises, nor do we look upon them as somehow too big to tackle. We see them, instead, as opportunities to awaken to real-life challenges, to listen and learn, and to work with our students to create a more just country and world. This work is founded on our belief that “Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We know that the work of confronting and dismantling systemic racism can only happen from the inside out. Last spring, MPH conducted a school-wide climate survey to take an honest look at the ways in which our students’ actual experiences at school do, or do not, reflect our school’s values. We continue to work on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion and commit to prioritizing these as we go forward to ensure everyone’s health and well-being.
As we look forward to Commencement this Sunday, let us do so with our eyes, as well as our hearts, wide open. The challenges are enormous, and so is the capacity of our young graduates to meet them with intelligence and character, with hope and confidence. The Class of 2020, graduating in the midst of – and despite – a global pandemic, will make history.
Likewise, as we continue to meet the challenges before us, I am confident that MPH will make history, not be made by it. We stand strongly committed to cultivating true understanding of our individual selves as well as of others – and to working together toward justice for all.
Dave McCusker
Head of School