The Tiger Generation

History is shaping a new generation marked by resilience, diligence, selflessness and hope

From the desk of Bill Stackman, vice chancellor for student affairs

I want to congratulate all of you on completing another semester — especially those of you graduating next weekend. This semester hasn’t been easy by any measure, but you’ve met the challenges and overcome them. 

Masters graduation student Sarah Sabatke at the Journalism School May 19, 2020.
Masters graduation student Sarah Sabatke at the Journalism School May 19, 2020.

I know how hard it’s been, both academically and socially, to thrive under the circumstances this year brought us. I also see the many of you who are faced with additional challenges brought by societal issues that are compounded by the pandemic.

The pandemic is disrupting our society, our economy, and our future. Lives are being lost. Livelihoods are threatened. Racial injustice and inequity tear at the fabric of our communities.

At the same time, however, a new generation — your generation — is emerging to tackle these crises.

Because each generation is sculpted by the times in which it lives, I propose we retire the rather uninspired name of “Generation Z” and replace it with one that reflects your courage. Let me call you the Tiger Generation.

The Tiger Generation has learned a lot in a very short time. Some of you were preparing to graduate from high school when the pandemic set in. Others of you had already found your place at Mizzou. All of you have quickly learned a few lessons.

Peter Mallon, a chemistry major from Liberty, MO, packages food items while volunteering at Tiger Pantry.
Peter Mallon, a chemistry major from Liberty, MO, packages food items while volunteering at Tiger Pantry.

You’ve learned resiliency. You dug deep and found strength that maybe you didn’t know you had. That resiliency allowed you to adapt to remote learning, virtual meetings with your student organizations, and how to stay safe while socializing. 

 

You’ve learned diligence. You adapted to the new reality and you kept at it, even when you needed to remember to grab a mask, even when you missed being with your friends, even when your hands were chapped from washing.  

 

You’ve learned selflessness. Rather than treat the pandemic as someone else’s problem, you embraced your part in the fight against the virus. You put the greater good ahead of your own personal desires. 

 

You’ve learned hope. Hope gives us the strength to try new things even under dire circumstances. In your case, that has meant taking part in COVID-19 research, participating in the recent elections, and making your voices heard on issues impacting our community.

 

In the coming months, you will need to hold on to these new lessons. The pandemic is not through with us, and it will take all our resilience, diligence, selflessness, and hope to overcome the challenges in front of us.  

 

So, as we wrap up this semester and prepare for the next, please stay the course. Keep one another safe and look after your own well-being. Please know I am here to help you in any way I can during your time at Mizzou.