Dear Hokie Students,

When I say it’s been humbling to work with you this semester, I mean it. Back on July 21, I wrote you a letter titled “Remember our Calling." I had faith in you, and I was convinced our collective commitment to Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) would be our true north during what has proven to be a very difficult semester.

We live in a culture that advances a narrative of self-first. Our motto, Ut Prosim, serves as a constant reminder to resist such a temptation. No matter the moment, in good times and bad, Virginia Tech is built on a foundation and a history that says progress comes when others are prioritized above self-interest.

If I’m being honest, there were some who said “college students” were unlikely to make sacrificial choices to protect public health this semester. While it has been far from easy, you’ve proven that Ut Prosim is not a catch phrase, but a way of life. As you departed for the Thanksgiving holiday, the positive rate for Virginia Tech students was among the lowest in the region — and there was no evidence that students were responsible for community spread during the semester. This isn’t just luck; it is the result of small everyday choices that you made over and against what was often desired or convenient for you. You prioritized others, and I believe it made an incredible, life-saving difference.

While we had our bumps from time to time over the semester, the larger lesson can’t be missed. The Hokie Family is replete with extraordinary human beings — willing to take the road less traveled for a future that is better for everyone. You’re simply a remarkable community of students, and the promise for ushering in a better reality for our society has only just begun.

Yes, there’s a reason doing hard things is really quite hard, and it’s no wonder these hard things build strength. From my observation, Hokies are stronger than ever. It’s been a treacherous journey that has included a scourge of racial injustices, economic hardship, a challenging election season, and a pandemic.

But bring it on world; we’re launching Hokies all over to serve. That’s really good news for all of us.

With deep gratitude and enduring hope,

Frank Shushok, Jr.
Vice President for Student Affairs