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And then we never spoke again.

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"We are Virginia Tech.

We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly, we are brave enough to bend to cry, and we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again.

We are Virginia Tech.

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it, but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by the rogue army, neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory, neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water, neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech.

The Hokie Nation embraces our own and reaches out with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong, and brave, and innocent, and unafraid. We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imaginations and the possibilities. We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our sadness.

We are the Hokies.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We are Virginia Tech.”

Nikki Giovanni, April 17, 2007 

Live for 32


But the truth is, graduates, there will always be folks who make assumptions about you based on superficial things like where you’re from, or what you’re wearing, or how you look.  There will always be folks who judge you based on just one thing that you say or do; folks who define you based on one isolated incident.  And here at Virginia Tech, I know you all know a thing or two about what that’s like.

But you also know that in the end, people can only define you if you let them.  In the end, it’s up to each of us to define ourselves.  It’s up to each of us to invent our own future with the choices we make and the actions we take.  That’s why Norris Hall is now the home of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, and West Ambler Johnston Hall will soon be reopened as a new residential college.  That is why this year, on April 16th, you started attending class again, choosing to honor their lives by moving forward with your own

And that is why, when you all are out there in the world and you meet someone and you tell them that you’re from Virginia Tech, and they say, “Huh, isn’t that the school where” — I want you to interrupt them right there and say, “Yes, it is the school where we have some of the best academic programs and professors in the country.”  That’s what you tell them. You tell them, “Yes, it is the school where students are passionate about serving their country and supporting each other.

You tell them, “Yes, it’s the school where we produce graduates who are leaders in their industries, and pillars of their communities, and who carry their Hokie pride with them every day for the rest of their lives.”  You say, “Yes, that is the school I attend.  That is Virginia Tech.”

First Lady Michelle Obama speaking to the Virginia Tech Class of 2012 on Friday, May 11, 2012, during the Spring Commencement Ceremony


Is all about love. Do it, say it, be it.