Kailyn Aertker, ’09
Dear Class of 2020,
Don’t allow what is going on in the world to diminish your accomplishments. In fact, this time will be good practice for your future. If you are lucky you will have a career and life of ups and downs. The ups will get you through the downs and the downs help you appreciate the ups. Don’t be afraid of taking a risk or of going on a different path. My risks became the best experiences of my life.
Take this time to learn the art of keeping in touch with your friends, mentors and professors from Ole Miss. Write letters and post cards (yes, snail mail); you’ll cherish them. Make an effort to visit often and give back where possible. Think of the rest of your life as an opportunity to put back into Ole Miss what you were so fortunate to receive.
Be willing to explore new places and meet new people. Very few things in life will give back to you more than starting from scratch. Travel and explore the world. People will be intrigued by your time at Ole Miss, or they will not understand it. Interact with others as though you are always representing us. Make a personal tally list to see how many colleagues and friends you can talk into visiting.
Hustle. Do the things others feel are beneath them. Work hard, don’t complain and understand now that you actually may not know anything at all. Remember to keep a running document each year of your projects, accomplishments and accolades. You’ll need that when you ask for more money and to find your next job.
Finally, be yourself and to follow your intuition. You’ve got this.
-Kailyn Aertker, 2009
PS – Any financial investment (you don’t touch) is a good one. Compound interest y’all.
Molli Flynt, ’97
New York, NY
To the Class of 2020,
I cannot imagine the disappointment you are all feeling from having your senior year cut short. I don’t really have words, except to say it just isn’t fair. Though I graduated over 20 years ago, it seems like just yesterday in many ways, and I remember clearly the excitement of senior year. I am so sorry that you are missing out on this time in Oxford, but one thing is for sure in these uncertain times–Oxford will be there when we come out of this and you will cherish visits and time there like never before.
I hope you know how proud we are of all of you and what you’ve accomplished at Ole Miss over the last four years, and especially how you’ve endured these extremely trying months. My hat is off to you in celebration of your graduation, and I hope that you will continue the celebration for some time to come as it is truly a big life milestone. I encourage you to take that celebration back to Oxford as soon as you can, because you deserve to do it right. Best of luck to all of you as you embark on your careers, be well, and Hotty Toddy!
From Illettea Houston
Congratulations on your Graduation!
It is time to go forth into world and pursue all your dreams; this is a milestone in your life, and on this very important occasion I wish you the very best of all life has to offer.
Love your, Mom
From Ryan Upshaw, ’06
This Ole Miss Class of 2020 is a special group! You will overcome these odds. Hotty Toddy!
From David Sansing, Jr., ’81
Congratulations on your Ole Miss Graduation. Class of 2020 will make outstanding contributions to American society.
From William Baird, ’91
Baton Rouge, LA
Your path was diverted. Your success was not. You’re forever a part of the place we call Ole Miss!
From Laurie Noble, ’69
To my granddaughter Bryn, this is the time to rise up and be a survivor, to live into the lesson that life is hard. We will grow and be stronger.
From Jim Baddley, ’60
Never forget your God. Never forget your family. Never forget your heritage
Never forget your Ole Miss memories and friends.
From Mary Kate Domino, ’16
San Diego, CA
You’re not getting the opportunity to experience the bittersweet “lasts” that the rest of us took for granted, and I can’t imagine what that must feel like. However, the defining moments of your Ole Miss experience occurred way before the pandemic and will continue long after. Never quit. I promise you will still get everything you’ve worked for and more. I can’t wait to see the amazing things the class of 2020 accomplishes in the years to come.
Alfred Katool, Sr.
My congratulations to my grandson Joseph Allen Katool and all the graduates of the Ole Miss’s Class of 2020. You all make us proud.
Dear Shelley, it is not the ceremony and celebrations that count. It is the friends you have made, the maturity you have gained and the knowledge that will be with you forever.. We will celebrate when the world is in better shape. Much love, Grammie (Class of 1944. President of ASB, 1943/44)
Always remember, there is no limit to what you can achieve, if you can conceive and believe it!
Your resilience in these trying times is a great stepping stone to your future- congrats on a job well done!
Michael Martin, ’93
Your Ole Miss family welcomes you as alumni with quite a unique story of perseverance! Rebels to the core! Hotty Toddy, and congratulations!
Congratulations to the Class of 2020. As you pursue your goals and dreams, always remember to take one day at a time and be thankful for the blessings given. There will be opportunities and assignments given each day that will require your full attention and expertise. Use the knowledge you have gained to help others, and be willing to go the extra mile when needed.Wherever your path leads, may you be the person that makes a difference.Always have a smile on your face, love and joy in your heart. #OleMissRebel#HottyToddy#Classof2020#ForOxford
Whether you are an undergrad or a grad, you have completed one phenomenal experience. Your time at Ole Miss can never be replaced nor forgotten. The current medical crisis is not
your fault, but it has cut short what you hoped for in 2020. This question was always asked: Are You Ready? Your answer going forward will be: I Am Ready! Ole Miss has provided
you with the foundation to grow and succeed. With warm wishes for your health and success. Hotty Toddy!
The Woodlands, TX
Class of 2020, this will be a year to remember, especially for all of you! There will be some great moments and some you look back on with disappointment, but it will be a year to remember. You have worked hard for 4 years and you DO have much to celebrate! You’re an Ole Miss graduate and we are proud of your accomplishments! Your success is just a few weeks away. Hotty Toddy!!!
To my son, Matthew Robbins (Engineering and Phi Kappa Tau) and to all of his classmates…
“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world.
All things break. And all things can be mended.
Not with time, as they say, but with intention.
So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.
The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is YOU.”
Congratulations Tiffanyvalesia Thomas!
Congrats bro and to all Ole Miss graduates.