Susan Collins, dean Ford School of Public Policy

I suspect that many of us woke this morning to the sense that we live in a very deeply divided country.  I write now with initial thoughts – as dean of the Ford School, fully committed to the role of policy in public service, as an immigrant and a person of color, and also as an optimist. Like many of you, I’ll need time to reflect more fully on where we are as a country and the way forward.

A high point for me, as I watched returns at Fraser’s last night with many other Fordies, was the student panel. I saw students sitting in front of a crowd, demonstrating deep expertise, discussing strongly held views. I saw those students in some cases disagree with each other–and do so with respect and civility. I found it inspiring.

We here at the Ford School are privileged in the sense that we can do so much more than simply hope for a better nation, for better leadership. Every day we can prepare students like those who modeled our values so well last night. We can study, write, teach, and engage. We can become the citizens and public servants that our great nation deserves and so desperately needs. Individually and collectively, we can act with strength and civility to keep moving forward.

Yesterday afternoon, President Obama said that “no matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning.” Like the sun, we all rose this morning. We called our friends and loved ones, we got our kids ready for school, we resolved in our own way to keep working at it–to keep building the fair, just, peaceful America that we hold in our hearts.

I’m grateful for the work we do here at the Ford School.

I hope to see many of you later this afternoon as we gather to discuss the election. The discussion, hosted by Paul Courant, will begin at 4pm in the Annenberg.