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My days and the time of day are defined by recognizing what is on my calendar. I know it is a work week since I have Zoom Meetings Monday-Friday 9-10 with my Clinical Council of Deans leadership team. I know it is Wednesday since I have a weekly Chairs/Deans Zoom Meeting 12.00-1.30PM. I know it is 10.00 AM since I have Provosts Council Zoom Meetings at that time. I know two weeks have passed when I host Staff or Faculty Town Hall meetings. The days blur into weeks, the weeks into months. Time passes yet at times it feels like no time has passed at all.

Lo and behold last week there were a couple of events on my calendar that broke the usual routine. Write condolence cards for TUSDM alumni who have passed away was saved as a 30-minute task. “Record Senior Video” was blocked out for me. I made several appointments for “Record Commencement Speech.” How was I to record these videos without any help?

The Senior video was recorded through Zoom with the audio-visual technician walking me through what he thought was a “good shoot”-one with a virtual background, one with an office background. The virtual commencement video was another challenge. No technician help through Zoom this time. Where do I “shoot” the video? What do I wear? How do I record it by myself?  In the end I went to the Board Room on the fifteenth floor. I wore my white coat. I played with the lighting, the audio, the set-up. Over two days I settled on the best settings that I could manage. The lamp from my office gave me the best light (off to my left with the shade off). I stood at the lectern with my speech notes in front of me. The laptop was set on a chair on the table-angled perfectly to capture my speech with some background-the angle looked right (LINK TO VIDEO CLIP). I know many faculty, staff and students have been recording their formal/informal clips-I look forward to viewing them all! I hope you will all join us as we celebrate the Class of 2020 during their virtual commencement. The Virtual Commencement will launch at 2:00pm on May 17th and we will share the landing page site as soon as it is complete.  Also, be sure to “tune in” to the Senior video (release planned for Friday May 8th at 6 pm-landing page to be announced). Thank you to all (especially those in Student Affairs) for coordinating these virtual celebrations!

All of these events on my calendar are a break from the routinely scheduled meetings to deal with the current crisis. A welcome reminder to celebrate the accomplishments of our student, the efforts of our faculty and staff. It reminds me that we are not totally bound by the current crisis. It gives us all pause.

This Friday (May 1, 2020) I noticed that between 6.30-8.00 PM on my calendar I had a reception invite for “Toast to Tufts Graduates.” This is an event that is sponsored by the alumni association (TUDAA) and the department of development and alumni relations to welcome the Class of 2020 as new members of TUDAA.

To the Class of 2020, I raise a glass to you this Friday as I toast all your accomplishments, and I ask that all in the TUSDM Community do the same!

This year will be something that you will always remember as well as something that will keep you all connected. I look forward to working with you as alumni.

Thank you to all in our community for your hard work and efforts to look forward!

Dean Nadeem Karimbux