The Dean's Letter

June 3, 2021

"Be Relentless"

Dear AAP Community —

This weekend, the class of 2021 celebrated their graduation and writer Roxane Gay shared some words of advice. "Be fiercely committed and be fiercely kind," she said. "Be relentless." After a year that was relentless in and of itself, a year constantly directed to actualizing possibility, she speaks to both what we have and what we will need to build our tomorrow.

As we bring to close a school year that will go down in memory at AAP, and well beyond, we find ourselves standing at the intersection of what was and what can be. Together, we entered new territory with no compass. We continued to move forward despite endless challenges and unknowns, and here we are — able to reflect on all that we've done and look toward the future.

I want to congratulate our 2021 graduates, who have accomplished so much in their time at Cornell, under unimaginable circumstances, to reach their graduation day. I want to thank all of our students who adapted and excelled in an evolving new normal. I want to thank our faculty and staff for their fierce dedication to our students from distances near and far. And, a special thanks to our department chairs, Michael Ashkin in Art; Andrea Simitch in Architecture; and Jeff Chusid in Planning, who have led with unrelenting commitment and conviction from start to finish.

Collectively and individually, you have done so much through it all. Coretta Scott King once shared, quoting her late husband, "The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members."

As you look toward what's next, whatever it may be, I encourage everyone to be relentlessly compassionate. Committed and kind to yourselves, and in your actions toward others and the world.

In celebration, and with a combination of awe and respect, I wish you all a safe and restorative summer.



J. Meejin Yoon
Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of Architecture, Art, and Planning


Contact Office of the Dean

129 Sibley Dome
Phone: (607) 255-9110
Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

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