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With sympathy, compassion and a new resolve

A message to the WMU family
from President Elson S. Floyd

Sept. 19, 2001

The events of September 11 were absolutely horrific for our nation and touched all of us in deeply personal ways. In the days since then, we have come to learn just how connected our University family is to the global community and, sadly, we have realized the extent to which those terrible acts have touched the lives of too many in the WMU family.

What we most feared has come true for some members of our family. One alumna, a cherished teacher for students in Nevada, lost her life aboard Flight 77 from Dulles Airport that day. The beloved brother of one of our current students is one of some 5,000 World Trade Center employees still listed as missing. Our hearts ache for both families.

But, as members of the larger human family, our hearts and minds also are with the thousands of others who have been touched by this tragedy. The sympathy of the entire Western Michigan University community is with all those who have lost loved ones, family members, colleagues and friends.

In the hours immediately following the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., during a vigil held at Kanley Chapel, I called upon the University community to epitomize our institutional and community values of civility, openness and compassion and to seek to understand what has happened at the same time we employ a spirit of unabashed love and respect for others. In the face of these hateful and violent acts, we can perhaps best remember those lost by renewing our personal commitment to tolerance and compassion for all people.

Finally, in these difficult days for all of us, I ask everyone in the WMU community to recognize and be sensitive to the needs of others to grieve this tragedy in their own ways and in their own time. All of us have a need for reflection and dialogue. We also have a need to set reflection aside from time to time and return some normalcy to our lives. Each of us will struggle to balance those divergent needs for many weeks and months to come.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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