Transcript of Dr. Zenobia Lawrence Hikes' convocation speech
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Good Afternoon, I am Zenobia Lawrence Hikes, Vice President for Student Affairs. We have come together today to remember the cherished and innocent members of our Virginia Tech family whose lives were abruptly ended in the senseless act that has left us all reeling in excruciating grief.
As we share our sorrow we collectively pay tribute to these young, gifted minds who came to Virginia Tech searching for knowledge and understanding and to these dedicated, talented professors who sought to impart that knowledge and enhance that understanding. Today the world shares our sorrow and pays tribute with us.
We particularly want the families and friends of those we've lost to know that you have our deepest, most heart felt sympathy. Please know that we are here for you and we will do whatever we can to ease your pain even as we deal with our own. Your loved ones are our valued members of the Virginia Tech family and they can never be replaced either in our hallways or in our hearts.
What happened here yesterday has reverberated not just throughout the Virginia Tech family but throughout all of higher education – indeed throughout the world. This global tragedy is one we never imagined seeing on our university campus. Because of it we have lost not just these dear members of our Virginia Tech community, we have lost the sense of peace that comes with learning.
The Virginia Tech family is one of camaraderie, respect, scholarship, pride, and spirit – standing together through the good times and the bad.
What has happened to these beloved members of our family has brought us even closer together in our shared grief and our disbelief. With the help and support of each other and our brothers and sisters all over the world we will eventually recover. But we will never, ever forget.