There is no question that these are unprecedented times. Throughout our history, there is no question that there have been challenges faced and hardships endured that have tested our fortitude, patience, and resolve. But there is also no question that our individual and collective efforts as a community of thoughtful, wise, and dedicated theatre administrators have served us faithfully for decades and have assisted us to prevail during previous crises. United as a community of theatre artists focused on the education and training of theatre students, and the advancement of the field of theatre, our individual, collective, and continuing efforts will enable us to address not only what is before us today, but what we will face in the future.
Recall the words of English author and poet, James Allen, taken from his book, As A Man Thinketh:
Composer, sculptor, painter, poet, prophet, sage, these are the makers of the after-world, the architects of heaven. The world is beautiful because they have lived; without them, laboring humanity would perish. He who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in his heart, will one day realize it. Columbus cherished a vision of another world, and he discovered it; Copernicus fostered the vision of a multiplicity of worlds and a wider universe, and he revealed it; Buddha beheld the vision of a spiritual world of stainless beauty and perfect peace, and he entered into it. Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.
Thank you for the work you have done, are doing, and will do. Cognizant of the accomplishments of the NAST membership and that pursued and completed by individual member institutions, it is apparent that the greatest strength of the Association and its members lies in the deep and abiding respect held for the field of theatre and for those who labor tirelessly to advance its cause. At all times, whether during periods of peaceful rest or great challenge, member institutions can rely on this great community for support and assistance, a community that you and your predecessors have built and sustained for decades, a community that will not only survive, but prosper in the years ahead. Please continue to be and remain well, taking great care of yourselves, for the contributions you make are vital to the future of this great field we have the privilege to honor, protect, and serve.