June 30, 2018
I am writing to thank you for your devotion to our students during this past academic year, and hope the summer gives some rest and respite to those taking the time. Others, I know, will work through the summer session, bringing the college to the new fall term.
Yesterday marked my final De Anza College commencement. It was the largest we’d had in my 14 years, with over 600 students walking across the stage. It was bittersweet for me, both wonderful to see the graduates, and very hard to leave.
It has been an exceptional privilege to work at a college where the commitment to students of all backgrounds is real, grounded in practice and also in a willingness to question practice, and push forward. Our success brings us recognition across the state and country, but the deeper story is our contribution to the community our students form every year. They are the new California: diverse, passionate, searching for a more just and peaceful world.
Our graduates are, in their demography and their success, a rebuke to the racism and narrow nationalism of too much of our national politics. This has not been an easy year for our students and their families, or for any of us. Each week brings a new indignity, a new assault on the nation’s decency, and a further consolidation of state power by reactionaries. This is the political world into which our student move, and we wish them every success in winning the battle for a more equitable future.
I leave with enormous admiration for all of you — for your steadfast attention to the students, your care for each other, and your own commitments to a more just world. I am delighted also to have worked with such a talented group of senior administrators, and know that Interim President Christina Espinosa-Pieb will offer both kindness and generosity as the college confronts its budget challenges. I am certain that De Anza College will get through it.