Dear Members of the MSOE Community,

Just as our academic year has drawn to a close and we have celebrated our graduating seniors and navigated challenges that have tested us as an institution, we find ourselves tested, once again, in a different but equally palpable way.

In the past week we have witnessed the violent and tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This horrible act weighs heavy on me and all members of the MSOE community. Unfortunately, such acts of racial injustice remain all too familiar in our country. In its wake, we’ve seen demonstrations and protests across our nation, throughout Wisconsin and in the streets of Milwaukee.

Especially during these times, our choices define who we are. Some turn their eyes and ears away because it doesn’t directly affect them. Some find ways to listen and learn the impact that these experiences, pain and suffering have had on their fellow men and women. A few have even taken advantage of this tragedy to cause destruction and devastation in the very neighborhoods we seek to build up. All of these are individual choices with corresponding consequences.

It is my sincere hope that we take this opportunity to model our values of integrity, inclusion and collaboration that unite us as members of the MSOE community.

Our university is proud to be home to students, faculty, staff and alumni who come from diverse ethnicities, backgrounds and experiences. As an institution of higher education, it is our responsibility to continue promoting an open dialogue in our classrooms, programs and actions. We are united in our values, and I feel it is incumbent upon each of us to demonstrate and instill these values in our students and one another.

We challenge our students to become the leaders who will solve the complex challenges of today and tomorrow. While many of those challenges may be technical, there is none more important or complicated than those that involve the human heart and mind. Just as one act, committed by a few, has sparked so much discord, I hope the actions we’ll take in the days ahead can help build an even stronger campus culture and future for our graduates.

In our strategic plan, Extraordinary Together, our institution made a commitment to “create a culture that embraces MSOE’s shared values.” The events of the past week have reinforced to me the belief that that goal has never been more important. Over the summer, I plan to engage representatives from across our campus community to listen so that I can better understand what steps we need to take, together, to reach that ideal.

I am hopeful that with kindness, dialogue, respect and understanding, we can help build a society that provides equity and opportunity for all.

With best wishes for your health and safety,
John Walz