Dear Members of the Campus Community,

We mark the beginning of the spring semester once again by celebrating the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a hero to me and many across generations and around the globe. Particularly in these economically, politically and socially divisive times, his words and actions remain a clarion call to bring forth the best that lies within us. 

I look forward to attending the City of Tacoma’s annual and inspirational event at the Convention Center this morning, and to welcoming all of you to our 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and Reception tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. in Kilworth Memorial Chapel. This year we are pleased to welcome as our keynote speaker Reginald Dwayne Betts, a poet, scholar and advocate for criminal justice reform. In addition to what is certain to be a moving and thought-provoking address, Mr. Betts will visit classes on campus and our programs for students at the Washington Corrections Center for Women. Thank you to all who have been involved in planning this invaluable opportunity for connection, conversation and learning with one another.

As we look forward to the spring, we will have many other opportunities to engage deeply in the work of social justice and to becoming the fully welcoming and inclusive community we aspire to be. It is hard work, it is necessary work, and it is the work that we are called to do. Amid continuing occurrences throughout the world of hate crimes, violence, and human rights violations, we must remain resolute to respond through our actions, our commitments, and our belief to help realize a more just and equitable society.

One issue among many that is very much on my mind is our ongoing struggle as a nation to address the heart-wrenching conditions endured by immigrants at our nation’s southern border. As a university community we are also deeply concerned about the pending U.S. Supreme Court decision about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Puget Sound is among 65 colleges and universities that have signed on to an amicus brief prepared by the President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, a group of American college and university leaders dedicated to increasing public understanding of how immigration policies and practices impact our students, campuses and communities. 

Of course, this is one among many issues before us. The times in which we are living call upon us to be ever more brave, committed, imaginative and resourceful. We are fortunate to have each other for encouragement and support. I remind us all that Chaplain Dave Wright ’96 instituted earlier this year a new program, “Taking Time,” that provides a space for community and reflection. The next sessions will be offered Friday, Jan. 24, and Wednesday, Feb. 5, 12:15–12:45 p.m., in Wheelock Student Center’s Murray Boardroom. I invite us all to take advantage of this and other opportunities to come together as a community to share our experiences and support one another. In the words of Dr. King, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D. | President