As school begins this year, from around the world each news story of alarm and chaos seems to outpace the next, now even here in Virginia. The white nationalist assemblage in Charlottesville offends every value we cherish, other than free speech itself --- a value at maximum tension when the ideas it countenances are heinously revolting. The violence and death yesterday in Charlottesville are heartbreaking beyond measure, and grievously touched the Lancer family. Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen of the Virginia State Police who was killed yesterday in the Charlottesville helicopter crash was the husband of Longwood alumna Karen Strawhun Cullen ’92. Our heartbroken prayers are with the Cullen family.
Universities are bulwarks of democracy --- in troubled times our work is all the more vital. And so it is deeply good to be beginning our 179th year at Longwood, educating citizen leaders. I look forward to welcoming everyone at the opening events for faculty, staff, and students this week.