President’s Letter
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For most of us, 2020 has been a year unlike any other.

A deadly pandemic stalks our nation. Social unrest continues to convulse our neighborhoods. And the cries for racial justice in metro Detroit and around the country have reached a pitch unheard for decades.

Even so, Warriors persevere. As our hometown continues its fight against COVID-19, we at Wayne State have done our best to not only safeguard our students and our campus from infection, but also to provide critical support for others fighting the virus across our city and state.

With the fall semester underway, we are fully re-engaged in the business of teaching, researching and learning, although we are doing a number of things differently for now. Most of our classes are online. Those who come to campus are required to follow a series of health protocols. And for now, many of the events that have become rituals on college campuses — from tailgates to homecomings to football games — have either been put on hold or have gone virtual.

Nevertheless, as this issue illustrates, we have found reasons to celebrate and even more to be hopeful about for the future.

Consider, for instance, the ongoing work of the indefatigable Jorge Chinea, the director of the Wayne State Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies. Not merely a scholar, Professor Chinea has spent much of his life as an activist, working diligently in Detroit and elsewhere to improve the lives of some of America’s most marginalized communities. His story, which begins on Page 7, is a source of pride and inspiration for us all.

There is the wonderful news about our graduation and enrollment rates, which continue to enjoy significant increases for African Americans and other students of color (p. 4).

In addition, this issue celebrates the academic excellence reflected in programs like Wayne Med-Direct (p. 11) and highlights the humane and brave work that WSU Warriors have done in hospitals, on the streets and in neighborhoods around the city to help beat back the coronavirus.

We see that spirit in the courageous efforts of students like Deaja Todd, who unexpectedly found herself fighting alongside doctors and nurses to save lives right from the beginning of the outbreak (p. 14). We see it in the volunteer efforts of our fashion department faculty and alumni (p. 17), who made masks for medical workers and first responders when personal protective equipment was hard to find.

Meanwhile, we have made our voices heard among the ongoing calls for social justice rising throughout our communities, be it our medical school faculty and students demonstrating as part of the White Coats for Black Lives movement (p. 23), or art student Christina Krysiak plying her talents to honor the victims of police violence (p. 25).

Yes, 2020 has been a year unlike any we have seen. But as this issue of Warriors underscores, WSU always stands ready to meet those challenges wherever in our community we find them.

President M. Roy Wilson Portrait
President M. Roy Wilson
President M. Roy Wilson Signature