A Message for Challenging Times

Elissa Tenny | August 8, 2016

Dear SAIC Community,

The fall semester begins in just 22 days, and it will present us with an opportunity to come together in a spirit of learning and in recognition of the talents and experiences that each of us has to offer. While there are no easy solutions to the uncertainty and senseless acts of violence we have witnessed in our country and around the world, I encourage you, as you prepare to return to campus, to remember that there is great strength to be found in each of us as individuals, and in each other as a community.

Throughout the School’s first 150 years, generations of SAIC students, faculty, staff, and alumni have responded to tragedy and difficulty with the determination and dedication you would expect of an institution founded in celebration of human creativity, dignity, and equality. This includes leaders such as Margaret Burroughs (BA 1942, MA 1948, HON 1987), a community artist and educator in Chicago who cofounded the South Side Community Art Center in 1940 and the DuSable Museum of African American History in 1961. As she wrote in her 2003 autobiography: “I am but one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do—and what I ought to do, I will do.

These words speak to how we all have a role to play and to our School’s mission. As artists and designers, we believe in the unifying power of self-expression; we recognize the ability of creative individuals to reflect and shape the world; and we inspire in others the will to see things differently and to change. And as students and scholars, we are attuned to the experiences of others; we are curious about the world and its complexities; and we are committed to the sharing of ideas and perspectives toward a common good.

I look forward to building on these strengths and to working with you this fall toward making our world better, more generous, and more inclusive. In the meantime, if you are having difficulty managing recent events, please remember that counselors are available through the Wellness Center during the summer months to assist our students and through the Employee Assistance Program to assist our faculty and staff.

With hope,
Elissa Tenny