9/11 20th Anniversary Remembrance, from President Maureen O'Connor

September 11, 2021
 
To the PAU Community:
 
I come to you feeling deeply reflective on a day that changed our world forever. As most of you know, I spent nearly 20 years in New York city before coming to PAU. And, as some of you know, I was in Brooklyn on the morning of September 11, 2001. My daughter and I walked from our home to the local elementary school under beautiful blue skies so that I could vote in the New York city primary. As we emerged from the school, we saw an enormous plume of dark gray smoke rising above lower Manhattan. As we all now know, the World Trade Center towers had been attacked and would soon fall. Our country’s (and certainly my 10-year-old daughter’s) sense of security was deeply challenged. 
 
At that time, I was on the faculty at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, an institution that educates many who go on to serve in law enforcement, criminal justice, forensic psychology, and other specialized justice fields. John Jay lost more members of its community that day (67, in addition to many who have subsequently died from exposure at the site) than any other institution of higher education in the country. As you walk between buildings at John Jay, you pass the 9/11 Memorial, which consists of a mangled piece of the N-4 steel beam that had supported one of the towers. Every time I walked past that Memorial, and on this 20thanniversary of that day, I reflect on the concepts of service and community. And, today, I’m thinking of each member of our PAU community whose families were affected by the events of that day and its aftermath. 
 
As we launch our new academic year at PAU amidst ongoing challenges, some still stemming from our country’s response to that day 20 years ago, I ask us all to reflect on the important role that PAU can play in helping our communities cope and heal. Let us serve ever more effectively by ensuring that our students are well-prepared to meet today’s challenges and our research asks important questions that can lead to meaningful support for mental health and wellness. 
 
With warm regards,
 
Maureen