Sharing Gratitude this Week
Chancellor Block sent the following message to the UCLA campus community.
Dear Bruin Community:
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to express my gratitude to each of you for meeting the challenges of a difficult year with determination, support for one another and a fervent belief in UCLA’s important mission.
This year, I am particularly grateful for all of the faculty, staff and students who have kept our academic enterprise running, through thick and thin, over the course of the pandemic. I am grateful for those who helped us devise and enact our plans for a successful return to campus this fall. I am grateful for our scholars who have continued to make discoveries for the benefit of humanity, including advancements to help us through the pandemic. And I am grateful for our dedicated health care workers who have spent many exhausting months keeping our communities healthy and leading our region’s fight against COVID-19.
While this continues to be a difficult time for us as both individuals and as a society, I hope you’ll join me this week in considering who and what you are thankful for.
Robert C. Solomon, a celebrated scholar of philosophy who taught at UCLA in the 1960s, once wrote that gratitude can be an uncomfortable emotion for many of us. In a society that prizes individualism, Solomon found that humans like to think of any positive developments or good fortune in their lives as the fruit of their own labor, yet gratitude requires “an admission of our vulnerability and our dependence on other people.” Those who embrace this truth, Solomon thought, become kinder and happier, more in touch with the profound impact they can have on others and with the impact others can have on them.
The science, I should add, backs this up; there are scores of studies — including some conducted right here at UCLA — highlighting the physical and psychological benefits of gratitude.
I hope you will use this week’s holiday as an opportunity to recognize how interconnected our lives are, to reflect on what you’re thankful for and to express your appreciation to those around you.
Please also be sure to do what you can to stay safe over the break. We must all remember that our personal decisions affect our community’s health.
I wish you and your loved ones a restful, restorative and reflective Thanksgiving, and look forward to seeing you again in late November.