Each Thanksgiving, I take the opportunity to reflect on all for which I am grateful.  My list is long, as I feel very fortunate for the many good things in my life, from my loving and dedicated family (which recently expanded with the addition of our delightful first granddaughter), to my “work family” comprised of the amazing team of colleagues and students here at The Fletcher School.  I feel especially thankful to be leading the nation’s oldest graduate school of international affairs after having been here as a student. It is quite special to witness the school’s evolution over the years, but how our commitment to academic excellence and preparing our students to address the complex challenges of today’s world has remained unwavering.

My grandparents were immigrants; their struggles acclimating to a new culture in order to pave a better future for my parents, who in turn provided a better life for me and my family, are not lost on me.  We cannot forget that we are today because of what our ancestors sacrificed.

I am reminded that mine is a truly American life – one that embodies the very spirit of Thanksgiving, a time when we celebrate with our loved ones in this melting pot that has become the beloved home of people hailing from all corners of the globe. I am grateful every day for the life I’ve been able to create for myself and for my own family — and for having the greatest job anyone could ask for, leading the next generation of the world’s leaders who are so committed to affecting positive change for a truly global society.

As a retired military officer, I am grateful to the tremendous service our armed forces provide for us every day — whether here on U.S. soil or abroad – to ensure our safety and protect the innumerable privileges we are afforded in this great country. As former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, I’m grateful for the ties that have been forged with our allies abroad, and the tireless efforts that have been made to ensure peaceful relations where we can across the world.

As the late Elie Wiesel said, “A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.” Here at Fletcher, I see the practice of gratitude in motion each and every day, from the small kindnesses witnessed in the hallways, to the extra hours put in by our faculty to ensure our students are getting the very best education possible, to the generous contributions we receive from donors who believe in our mission and the impact that a Fletcher education has not only on the individual scholar, but on each person he or she encounters for the remainder of their career. Our alumni express their gratitude for their meaningful experiences on campus by regularly meeting with our current students looking for career advice and helping them network. It is truly inspiring to be a part of a community that is as caring and committed to each individual member as the one we have fostered here at Fletcher.

Wishing all of you in our extended Fletcher family a wonderful Thanksgiving and a peaceful weekend.

09/09/2016 - Medford, MA - The Fletcher School kicked off the academic year on September 9th, 2016, with the Annual Academic Convocation. Dean Stavridis hosted the event which included awards presentations and remarks from students, alumni, and faculty and honored Ambassador Jacobson F86 A19P. (Ian MacLellan for Tufts University)

Comments are closed.