As we continue to celebrate the many historical achievements of Black Americans, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible accomplishments, conversations and events that have taken place in our UCF community this February during Black History Month.

As Dr. Kent Butler shared earlier in the week, UCF’s diversity brings life to our campuses. Listening to each other’s stories and histories helps us all learn and grow in a way that enriches our experiences. From arts and cultural celebrations to open dialogues, from tours of downtown Orlando’s Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture and UCF Downtown’s Parramore Room to a reading list of Black History Month titles compiled by UCF Libraries staff, there were so many ways that our community honored Black history and culture.

We are proud that a key part of UCF’s culture is our focus on diversity and inclusion. These efforts are furthered by the excellence and impact of our Black Faculty and Staff Association, which is celebrating 50 years at UCF this month. Through their amazing events and engagement opportunities, the BFSA celebrates the uniqueness that each individual brings and helps us work together toward a shared culture of inclusive excellence at UCF.

As we continue to celebrate beyond February, I encourage you to tune in to the weekly Matters of Diversity with Dr. B podcast. Last week’s episode centered around Black Excellence in Higher Education Leadership and included Dr. Theodorea Berry, Dr. RoSusan Bartee and UCF’s first current faculty member to be inducted into the National Academy of Engineering, Pegasus Professor Peter Delfyett.

This week’s episode will feature UCF’s Gospel & Cultural Choir, whose unifying performance of Lift Every Voice and Sing recorded this month is an inspiring way to end our Black History Month celebration.

The lyrics call us to “Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us. Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us. Facing the rising sun of our new day begun. Let us march on till victory is won.”

As Knights, let us Charge On together in the spirit of hope that our best days are ahead of us because we will continue to care for and uplift one another.