Opening Message for the Class of 2024 – August 15, 2020

August 15, 2020
President Robert W. Iuliano
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

As delivered.

If you want to know what I find beautiful and inspirational, just look around you. The stunning vistas. The landscape that invites you to look not only near, but also into the horizon.

We stand on space that compels reflection. Yes, that is because of what happened here and its enduring significance to our country. But it’s also because the physical space itself is stunning. And when the physical grace of the land is juxtaposed on the history it has witnessed, it is hard not to be moved, not to be inspired.

It’s an instinct, a call to action as enduring as it is essential. That we may take the lessons of our past and apply them to confront the challenges and injustices of our time. To forge a life and a world in service of one another, and the greater good.

Here at Gettysburg College, we believe we are Better Together.

It is a belief that extends beyond a recognition of who we are, in a year when our interactions take on new meaning and the bonds between us are of even heightened importance. At its heart, being “Better Together” is a declaration for whom we aspire to become.

So, the question before us as Gettysburgians today is very much the same question before all of those whose sacrifices are memorialized upon the battlefields that surround this campus:

Who do we want to be?

Only we can decide. And our choice is rooted—as it always has been—in what we value, and, more profoundly, in who we value.

As the newest members of this College community, you will be equipped with the knowledge, the skills, and the perspective to make such a choice. And you are here, now, because we believe in you and the promise you hold to make a real difference in this world by who you choose to be and what you choose to value, to protect, and to champion. We are, indeed, Better Together.

Students, it my distinct honor as president to welcome you to Gettysburg College. Over these next four years, let us learn from one another. Let us grow alongside each other. And let us do great work, together.