Do what you can!

Friday, Jan. 12, 2024

Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,

Happy Friday!

As we welcome our students back for the spring semester, it is heartening to know that many, in addition to preparing to get their classes underway, plan to volunteer for community service as a part of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Monday, Jan. 15, the start of the spring semester, also marks Martin Luther Day Jr. Day, when in many communities, individuals and organizations commemorate the day by volunteering as part of a National Day of Service. For our student volunteers, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a “day on, not a day off.”

From a broader perspective, imagine for a moment a society without volunteers and volunteerism, the importance of which is not lost on any organization that depends on the volunteers who give and guide to ensure success of the people they care about. From a public university perspective, I have witnessed colleagues across the university and among all our constituencies dedicate their time and energy to life-changing university programs. I think of our Miner Alumni Association Board members, our Trustees, our Academies, and our Kummer Institute Foundation Board, who share a common understanding that effort matters, and that change can only happen when they are willing to put in the effort.

Here on campus, we strive to empower our students, faculty and staff to make a difference in their communities and, as a result, form new community relationships and gain diverse perspectives on pressing issues. As I highlighted in our culture of service earlier, our campus volunteers are instrumental in forging community relations, creating a purposeful culture and having a positive impact on causes that matter most to them.

In my own experience, my volunteering with local, national and professional organizations has enhanced my sense of place and purpose and enhanced my personal growth. Like many, I have served as a volunteer in many professional and civic organizations and, in the process, have enjoyed connecting with like-minded, kindhearted people.

Given all the benefits of volunteerism, including career development opportunities, I encourage our students to participate in volunteer service opportunities and highlight the experience and skills gained from that in your resume. To our engaged alumni, I say, thank you for all your service; we appreciate your commitment. To all our alumni, I say, please engage with us to let us benefit from your wisdom and experiences.

Finally, on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, let us all remember Dr. King’s legacy and the future he hoped for. And to get some sense of the reality he experienced, I hope we also take some time to read his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and reflect on the importance of its message for us today. And then, in the words of the great Arthur Ashe, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”



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Mohammad Dehghani, PhD
Chancellor | 573-341-4116

206 Parker Hall, 300 West 13th Street, Rolla, MO 65409-0910