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I’ve been a little quiet here lately as this very difficult semester comes to a close. It was healing yesterday to spend some time with Dr. Fauci before our MSU doctoral convocation.

A selfie with Chris Long in academic regalia to the right of Dr. Anthony Fauci in the Breslin Center before the 2023 MSU Doctoral graduation ceremony. The wall behind them has a Spartan helmet and images of Spartan Basketball players in action.

In his address he drew on lessons from the pandemic and encouraged graduates to expect the unexpected, to engage meaningfully with science, whatever their discipline may be, to resist the normalization of untruth, and, importantly, to find and prioritize joy in their lives.

This last resonated deeply with me – it reminded me of a passage from Robin Kimmerer’s book, Braiding Sweetgrass:

“We are showered everyday with gifts, but they are not meant for us to keep. Their life is in their movement, the inhale and exhale of our shared breath. Our work and our joy is to pass along the gifts and to trust that what we put out into the universe will always come back.”1

This is such a beautiful expression of the faith that animates a life committed to education. And it has been a gift to be reminded of it as this semester comes to a close.

  1. Kimmerer, Robin Wall. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. First Paperback edition. Minneapolis, Minn: Milkweed Editions, 2015, 104.


  • Lucy hernandez Michal says:

    Thank you!
    This quote is from one of my favorite books!!!

  • dmf says:

    I think Fauci’s a good example of why we need to train scientists/engineers/MDs in the doing of politics and media, and why we need public health (and really all fields of endeavor) worth the name with a strong foundation in what it means to stand up for the public, not unlike how prof. @jayrosen_nyu is pushing the press to be pro-Democracy. Otherwise we end up with situations like what just occurred at UIowa where one of the few faculty (@RiverRaccoon) willing to take a public stand to protect the common good was forced out of his work by elected officials threatening funding and got no support from his Faculty Senate, dean or president: have a good summer Chris. -dirk

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