Congratulations, Class of 2021! Read SOE Dean Randy Penfield’s Commencement Speech

Posted on May 18, 2021

SOE class of 2021 feature image

Greensboro, NC • May 7, 2021 — 

Good afternoon! My name is Randy Penfield and I have the honor of serving as Dean of the most outstanding school of education in the state of North Carolina — that’s your UNCG School of Education.

It is my distinct privilege to congratulate you on your graduation from UNCG! Commencement is something we look forward to every year, and I am absolutely thrilled to be able to address the Class of 2021 in person today.

dean randy penfield 2021 commencement
SOE Dean Randy Penfield at the UNCG Class of 2021 Commencement ceremony on May 7, 2021.

What a year it’s been! The Class of 2021 has overcome obstacles that none of us ever imagined — you have made the best of a virtual university experience with remote classes, meetings, and exams, all while braving a perfect storm of challenges with lasting consequences regarding the pandemic and racial equity. Against these headwinds, you have made it here today and that is a testament to your tenacity and resilience. I couldn’t be more proud of how you have handled these uncertain and unprecedented times with determination and perseverance.

In the School of Education we are dedicated to promoting a just society and fostering educational and social equity. The past year has cast a particularly bright light on the vital importance of these principles, exposing massive inequities in educational opportunities and health services. As if you didn’t already have enough motivation and passion to pursue your careers and paths of impact, your calling now becomes even more profound and I am grateful. I am grateful for the lives you will positively impact and the norms you will challenge. I am grateful for the voice you will bring to the children, families, schools, and communities that you will serve. And, with much optimism, I am grateful for the change you will create.

Class of 2021, congratulations! You have shown us what it means to be a Spartan, and I am humbled to stand beside you as you continue to light the way toward a brighter future.

Randy Penfield, Dean of the School of Education