University of San Diego

Office of the President

Dear USD Community:

As I watched in disbelief today protesters breaching the U.S. Capitol building, my thoughts turned to our students and the example being set for our future leaders.

This moment brings to mind the words of President Abraham Lincoln in his first inaugural address when, in the face of a very dark moment in American history, he invoked a call for “the better angels of our nature.” Today we must once again call on our “better angels” and rise above the anarchy we are witnessing and unite as a nation.

This month, we celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., who in his efforts for racial justice, set the standard for positive change through non-violent protest. Dr. King’s powerful words reminded us that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Our nation has endured wars, pandemics, natural disasters, social injustice, and economic crisis, yet we have always been resilient and grown as a nation. We will persevere once again, learn from this experience and continue on our path toward justice. The positive change we all look for can take time, and it comes through civility and mutual respect for all people and for our principles of democracy.

What we are witnessing today is antithetical to our democracy, and we must each seek to model what it means to be an engaged and active citizen. Our role as a contemporary Catholic university is to ensure that every member of our community is treated with dignity and respect. As Toreros and Changemakers, we can help to transform the current darkness into light by lifting up the spirits of our fellow human beings through compassion, generosity, and by cherishing our democracy. This is a time to live out our values as we look forward to a new semester and channel our energy to open dialogue, civility, inclusion, justice and peace.

I ask you to join me in offering prayers for national unity and that our elected officials and citizens act with wisdom, understanding and a sincere sense of obligation to all of God's creation now and in the months and years ahead. We also invite you to participate via livestream in our daily Mass, which will be offered on Thursday, January 7, at 12:15 p.m. with a special intention for peace in our nation.

Peace to you and your families,

James T. Harris III, D.Ed.

University of San Diego

Office of the President
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492