Dear Mr. President…

I sent the following letter to our 44th President a few days ago.

Dear President Obama,

I write just a few days before your Inauguration to send you my congratulations, best wishes, and deep hopes as you begin your tenure as president. The impact of your Commencement Address at Wesleyan University in the spring still echoes on our campus, and although we know that college students everywhere identify with your message of hope and change, we at Wesleyan feel a special kinship with you.

In a recent video communication you call on Americans to step forward in service to our communities, our regions and our country. This is a call that resonates powerfully with the Wesleyan family. For generations our students, faculty and alumni have connected their education with making a positive contribution to the world around us. We have long believed in the power of a liberal arts education to help one not only to live a more reflective and considered life as an individual, but to enable one to engage with one’s community in an effective and generous way.

In response to your call Wesleyan will strive to reinvigorate the public service dimensions of the education we offer. You have inspired us to find “our moon, our levee, our dream,” and we will set our goals and work together to accomplish them.

From the same marble terrace from which you delivered your Commencement Address, Martin Luther King Jr. told our students that “the arc of history bends toward justice.” Like you, he knew that we must join forces to realize the potential for justice in our country, in our history. Mr. President, I pledge that we at Wesleyan will do everything we can to help you in this endeavor.

Congratulations on your inauguration. With your leadership and our joint service we can make substantial progress in achieving our goals.

Yours sincerely,

Michael S. Roth

Congratualtions, Mr. President

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[tags] President Barack Obama, Inauguration, Commencement Address, community engagement, public service, Martin Luther King Jr.[/tags]

2 thoughts on “Dear Mr. President…”

  1. Today, I am bursting with pride not only to be an alumnus of Wesleyan University, but also to be a citizen of these great United States of America. Thank you, President Roth, for expressing in your letter the spirit of our University, and thank you, President Obama, for expressing in your inaugural address today the spirit of our Nation.

    Brian Holt Hawthorne, ’84
    father, forester, volunteer firefighter/EMT, and proud Wesleyan alumnus

  2. President Roth – I join with many Wesleyan alum in echoing your kind words and aspirations for the new Administration. It is important to note that over the last several years a number of us have attempted to energize those interested in philanthropy and public service…specifically Mike Sciola from CRC and I – as well as several others – have shared our experiences on panels at WESeminars in Middletown as well as “on the road” in NY and Boston (we plan to hit DC in the spring and many other cities)! Aside from the important work of the Allbritton Center, we would like to build a nationwide community of alumni chapters around this area (Wesleyan Achievers in Philanthropy and Public Service a/k/a WAPPS) and call on all alumni interested to attend one of the sessions we plan in the next 12-18 months…regardless of political persuasion, WAPPS plays to the classic “Wesleyan ethos”!

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