Dear Marietta College Community:

Today we celebrated what makes our nation amazing and exceptional as we witnessed one of the hallmarks of American democracy with the peaceful transfer of power from the Trump administration to the Biden administration. The American people have come to expect peaceful transfers after an election because it is the right thing to do — and it reaffirms our democratic ideals.

Watching President Biden recite the oath of office and become the 46th President of the U.S., while also observing President Trump’s return to being a private American citizen, is an incredible reminder of why our republic has survived and thrived for almost 245 years. No matter what obstacles our nation has faced, the United States has proven its resiliency.

Despite false claims of alleged voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election and the tragic attack on democracy at the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago, today we should all join together and show pride in the strength of American democracy.

As we start this new year and new semester, let us reconsider our commitment to civic engagement and each other. I ask that each of us show a renewed care and concern for our fellow citizens through self-restraint in our dialog and in our actions.

At Marietta College, a key component of our liberal arts education is being dedicated to the pursuit of the truth — even if the truth is something that we do not agree with or if it makes us uncomfortable. Our faculty and staff are dedicated to advancing the truth regarding a range of issues, including ensuring voter rights for all citizens, the COVID-19 pandemic, and racial imbalances. Join them in these discussions with fact-based arguments and a willingness to listen and learn from each other.

I believe our 41st President, George H.W. Bush, summed up what I’m trying to say best, when he said, “Think about every problem, every challenge, we face. The solution to each starts with education.”


Bill Ruud
Marietta College President