Letter to Hamline University Students

Dear Hamline University Student:

When I read the letter of support from some of you, I was taken aback and truly humbled. Your support means the world to me and I thank you. I am now and always have been a leader who cares for and respects the totality of students. You bring a vitality and spirit to higher education that makes us who we are. It is because of you that we—administrators, faculty and staff—keep redefining our roles and striving to get better. It is because of you, our students, that we work hard to offer the best educational experience we can. 

I believe that through education we can change the world—that you can change the world. You, Hamline Pipers, are the hope for the future. You are the embodiment of the hopes and dreams I had for this world as a young child growing up in Danville, Virginia and today, as your president. I remain confident in our collective ability to bridge the gaps that divide this nation—that divide us. 

In my installation address when I became president of Hamline in 2015, I spoke about the power in us all—the power we have to  make a difference—to be better than we are, to grow, and to learn from and with each other. It is through the promise of education and all it entails that we can all grow and learn in ways that might have once been unimaginable. Education allows us to learn about who we are. It allows us to acknowledge our biases and learn the importance of recognizing and appreciating the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. Education allows us to use what we are learning and generate new knowledge. It is our path to a better world. You, our students, are our path to a better world. 

It is with great pride and joy that I have watched you grow, find your voices and thrive. Your contributions to Hamline have been immense. You live the words of John Wesley. You have taken on hard issues. You have stepped up and spoken out. You stood against the United Methodist General Council when they voted to deny the worth of our LGBTQ+  “family.” We became a reconciling university. You stood in protest against the murders of Black people. You stood for justice. You stood for equality, equity and inclusion. You spoke out for the truth. You continue to show the world the way forward. And, I am confident in your abilities and humbled by your faith in this community and me.  I love, care and respect each and everyone one of you. You are the heart of Hamline University. 

You, our Hamline students, are again taking the lead. You have organized two community conversations. We, the rest of the community, take pride in learning from you as we too plan community conversations. It is my hope that you will select at least two students to serve on the community conversation planning committee. Together, we can move mountains. Together, we can heal our community.  

With much love,

Fayneese Miller