Dear Class of 2020:

Congratulations—in historic form, really—are in order.

I know this wasn’t the finish line you envisioned. This pandemic has given all of us a crash course in pivoting under pressure. It’s redefined our priorities, discarded our routines and laid bare what we’ve long taken for granted.

But, amid this rising tide of challenges, you graduated. It’s a victory and a moment worth celebrating. It’s also a testament to your ability to persevere, adapt and succeed in this world.

This is a good thing, because we need you.

This pandemic has taught us that the experts and the helpers will save us. No amount of bluff or bluster can mask the fact that we need knowledge, innovation, collaboration and curiosity—all bound together with compassion and a calling to serve others. It’s a familiar and trusted toolkit for anyone who’s called the University of Pittsburgh home.

Now, more than ever, you have an opportunity to change where we go next as a society. You have a chance to reassemble what is broken and build a better future for all of us. It won’t be easy, but as graduates of the University of Pittsburgh, I know that you have what it takes—and that you won’t be alone.

In fact, you’re joining a global alumni community of more than 300,000 doers, leaders and game-changers. It’s a network packed with people just like you who combine knowledge and commitment to benefit the greater good. So, while your campus classes may be over, your University family is bigger than ever.

With this incredible community behind you and your Pitt degree in hand, I know you’re bound to make a difference—and I’m excited to see where you take this world next. 

Hail to Pitt!

Patrick Gallagher