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Texas State University

Unity Welcome Event 2019

Remarks by President Denise Trauth

LBJ Student Center Ballroom

September 25, 2019

Thank you, Dr. Smith. I am honored to be here this evening for the first ever Unity Welcome event. We are so glad to have all of you here tonight for our celebration of diversity, people, cultures, and community. It is a celebration of what makes Texas State a special place.

Over my seventeen years as President of this great university, I have had the extraordinary opportunity to witness the highest qualities of our community -- what it means to be a Bobcat. We believe in the power of a diverse and inclusive community. We value our differences as a source of strength. We discuss and debate our ideas with passion, respect, and dignity for our fellow Bobcats.

Unity does not mean that we all agree on issues or all have the same political predispositions. But it does mean that we are united as we stand together against hate, and we commit to building our capacity for inclusion.

We care about our community and our fellow Bobcats. We believe that hate, racism, and bigotry have no place here. We work hard, and we work together to turn challenges into triumphs. That’s what unity means.

Every single member of our community plays an important role in reinforcing our values. We all have contributions to make to society, and to the Texas State family. Collectively, we make our world, and our university, stronger. The college experience provides life-changing opportunities, and it opens doors.

It also opens minds, exposing students to a wide array of perspectives and voices. A university education ought to include students’ expressing opinions across a broad spectrum. And that is particularly true at Texas State because we are home to such a diverse group of students – not just in our demographics, but in our beliefs and how we express them. In all that diversity, our strength comes from unity.

As I look out at all of us who have gathered here tonight, I feel great pride and hope:

pride in our university community for demonstrating true Bobcat values of unity and compassion. And hope for the future.

You will go from Texas State out into the workplace and into new communities where you can spread the message that there is strength in diversity, that a multiplicity of voices leads to the best solutions. As you heard a moment ago, unity is not without struggle.

Like universities and communities across the country, there are obstacles we must overcome. Texas State is not immune to the challenges faced by our nation. Frankly, the world will try to divide us. We must undertake the work ahead of us keeping in mind the current national, political landscape.

We may stumble from time to time, but the wellbeing of our current and future Bobcats is always our driving force. Your responsibility as students and as leaders is to continually search for respectful ways to engage in productive discourse.

Find common ground. Celebrate the differences among us as we come together -- one unified community. Let us be inspired by these meaningful performances we’ll see tonight. And, let us recommit ourselves to preserving and protecting our university’s sense of community and inclusivity.

I’d like to thank the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion for organizing tonight’s special event. And, I’d like to thank all the students and organizations contributing their time and talents in tonight’s performances. You are an inspiration to your fellow Bobcats and to leaders at Texas State. Thank you for being here, and welcome to this celebration of unity.