In gratitude | A message from the Dean

It’s hard to believe that this week, many of us will celebrate Thanksgiving; an opportunity to spend time thinking about the many blessings in our lives.

For some, this is not always easy, because the challenges of life shift our perspectives and disrupt our expectations. For me, Thanksgiving has always been about family, football and food—sometimes in too large of a dose, but I always want more.

The disruption of the past two years has minimized our ability to gather safely for this annual celebration, but I believe for most, this year will be closer to normal.  For others, it will be a new norm. But whether new or old, it is an opportunity for gratitude. And I have to admit, this is not always easy. 

In the past five years, most of my Thanksgiving norms have been changed by the passing of older siblings, aunts, and in-laws who were central to how my celebration unfolded. Either it was the holiday calls, the holiday visit or the “dinner is at your house, right?" I know some of you have lost loved ones and friends, specifically to COVID-19, and I would venture to say that our patients have lost loved ones. Over the next few weeks, I encourage you to express kind words to our students, residents, patients, staff and faculty, and a Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate. 

Dean Keith Mays with his puppy, Blu

It is a wonderful season to reflect on the moment. I am so grateful for the family and friends who are still with me and the new friends and family who enter my life. I am grateful for the SOD faculty and staff who work so hard to make the daily experiences of our students, visitors and patients positive and pleasant. I am grateful everyday that there is breath in my lungs, and strength to serve as your dean. I am grateful for my beautiful wife and my dog Blu, who both bring me joy and make me laugh. I am grateful for how our alumni support our students through lunch and learns, financial giving and words of advice. I am even grateful for the challenges in my life that stretch me and help me grow in ways I did not plan. 

I hope you have been able to observe the beautiful fall colors of Minnesota this year. have been beautiful. I wish a wonderful Thanksgiving and I am truly grateful for how each of you, in your own special way, makes the SOD a better place and daily contributes to positive experiences for our learners and patients.