Messages from the President



Dear UMPI Students,

There are a great number of “what am I thankful for?” posts and memes circulating on social media this year—both the posts and their responses are often particularly poignant and powerful in this year of such overwhelming loss, experienced simultaneously as it has been on a global and very local and personal scale.

This past weekend, the TED Radio Hour (on NPR) rebroadcast a wonderful segment on that act of thankfulness between Guy Raz and its host, Manoush Zomorodi, including an interview with A.J. Jacobs, a journalist and author of works such as “Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey.”  Jacobs speaks of the transformative and healing power of gratitude: “There are tons of studies about how good it is for you, how it helps ward off depression. You recover more quickly. You sleep better, eat better. You’re more generous.”  He then adds how his very perceptive ten year old son challenged him to take “thankfulness” a major step further:  “Dad, that’s fine. But those people can’t hear you. They’re not in our apartment. So if you really are committed, then you should go and thank those people in person.”  This leads Jacobs on a remarkable worldwide journey which is recounted in his book.  (You can read or listen to—and it really is meant to be heard—the entire segment at ).

Guy Raz concludes the segment with this thought:  ” And what I love about A.J. Jacobs is he says, you know, gratitude isn’t about being optimistic or, you know, saying, oh, the world is great all the time; it actually forces you to, really, actually reflect on the world because when you show gratitude, you’re really kind of understanding the process that it took for people to get you the things that maybe make your life better or more joyful in this instance.”

We are grateful, this season of thankfulness, for you– your perseverance, your energy, your desire to make this a better community, university, and world.

My best to you and your friends and family and loved ones and my hope that you continue to find joy in– and bring joy to– our world, especially in this time of so much loss.