As I write this letter, we have endured a full year of challenge, loss and sometimes heartbreak — but we’ve also responded with flexibility, creativity and resilience. As Eagles, we masked up, kept a wingspan apart and against the odds, completed another full academic year. This issue highlights many of the ways we adapted to and persevered through our new normal.
With many of our annual events cancelled, we were grateful to have had the opportunity to meet and get to know many of you virtually. As alumni you networked, shared and met new friends and faces around the globe in all 50 states and in many countries. With over 200 online events, webinars and e-gatherings, including our first-ever virtual homecoming, we were truly “One Eagle Community,” supporting each other. Thank you for your ongoing support.
But even with all this great activity, I still missed the sights, smells and sounds of air shows; the cheers and applause at graduations and sporting events, the tears at commissioning; the nervous excitement at career fairs; and just seeing real, in-person smiles.
As I reflect on the lack of sensory feedback from our activities, I still feel grateful for all that we have been able to do to stay connected.
Eagles, I hope you can join me in approaching the upcoming year with a bright new outlook; while some uncertainty remains, we can now see a light ahead. Let’s stay connected and enjoy the sights and sounds — and most importantly, the smiles — as we connect in the next year.
In closing, I must thank Sara Withrow, editor of Lift magazine, for the last 10 years and 22 issues. While this issue will be her last (we will miss her!), I’m thankful for Sara’s many contributions over the decade. As I look at some of the headlines from past Lift covers, I feel that she embodies many of our core values represented in those titles. Whether it was “Breaking Barriers,” or “Igniting Innovation” or “Engineering Success,” Sara always kept her “Eyes on the Sky,” demonstrating a “Passion, Pride and Expectation” for the future.
Godspeed, Sara! Thank you for lifting up our alumni, each and every issue.
Forever an Eagle,
Bill Thompson (’87)