My fellow Terrapins,
Earlier today, Joseph Biden was announced as the 46th President of the United States. Though legal challenges remain, this announcement marks a path forward in the American presidency.
This election shattered voting records. Historic turnout - especially from young voters - yielded the highest voting rate in more than 100 years.
This election also broke another long-standing barrier, as Kamala Harris was elected as the first Black, first South Asian, and first woman Vice President in our nation’s history. It is important to recognize this achievement, not only for communities of color, but for all of us who benefit from leaders that reflect the diversity of our nation.
Appreciation for Our Community
I want to take a moment to express gratitude toward our Maryland community. Thank you for being patient as the democratic process played out across our nation. Thank you for supporting your colleagues and friends during a trying, uncertain time. And thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who transformed our very own Xfinity Center into the largest polling place in Prince George’s County.
And to the young voters who turned out like never before, I applaud you. Young and first-time voters demonstrated a commitment to civic engagement that will reshape our democracy and our nation.
As we pause for this historic moment, we do not forget where we stand right now. We still face imminent challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice, climate change and other Grand Challenges of our time. And yet we are confronted with empirical evidence that our nation remains split down the middle in far too many ways. If we are to address these problems, we must approach them for what they are, not as partisan or political challenges, but as human ones.
For our country to make progress on the Grand Challenges of our time, we must engage in an open marketplace of ideas, find common ground, and treat one another with mutual respect and civility.
My request to you is to keep participating in our democracy. Keep using your constitutional rights and the power of the First Amendment to advocate for the fair and just world you want to live in. As your president, I pledge to support you as you continue to shape our communities and our country to foster a more equitable future for every one of us.
Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland