Together as a Community
Dear Kent State University Students, Faculty and Staff,
As last week’s concert in Cartwright Hall ended, I, like everyone else, was standing, clapping and swaying to the show’s final notes. The beauty of the moment was transcendent.
The members of the combined Kent State Gospel Choir and University Voices United filled the auditorium with their beautiful voices and infectious talent. Our Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Lamar R. Hylton, Ph.D., was the featured soloist, performing his amazing rendition of “Total Praise.” I still get goosebumps thinking about the performance and the vibe in the audience that night. When you can, I encourage you to attend a future performance of one of our Kent State choirs and revel in the talents of our students and professors.
At the end of a long semester, during an ongoing pandemic, we were together as a community. That’s when it hit me: I am the luckiest person in the world because I regularly get to witness the amazing talents of our Kent State students and employees. This kind of magic happens every day at Kent State, and truly, this work and these performances are the best gifts all of us can give and receive.
In the afterglow of the concert, I remembered a recent article on student success in which one expert said this about the key to increasing the number of students who earn college degrees: “They need to know someone on campus has their back, and they need a chance to do something really meaningful to them at least once a week.”
Choir directors Rodney Hubbard Sr. and Kishna Fowler clearly have the backs of our students, as does Dr. Hylton, and many, many others on this campus. Every day, day in and day out, our students engage in meaningful activities that create for them a sense of belonging that drives their success.
So, as we close our semester, I want to take a moment to celebrate this work, these performances and these opportunities our students have for meaningful engagement despite the restrictions brought about by living and studying during a pandemic.
As you depart for winter break and with the emergence of the COVID-19 omicron variant, I encourage everyone to use extra caution as cases begin to surge. Get tested to make sure you are virus-free and continue to practice the Flashes Safe Eight to ensure the health and safety of yourself and your loved ones.
I wish you a restful winter break and all the best in the new year,