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9/11 Message to the Campus

Dear Golden Bear Community:

This Saturday will mark the 20th anniversary of one of the darkest days in our nation’s history, September 11, 2001. Although some of you were not yet born on that fateful day and many of you might not have as strong recollections as others, 9/11 is universally regarded as shorthand for the series of four coordinated attacks against the United States of America by the militant Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda, resulting in the killing of 2,977 innocent victims and causing injury to more than 25,000 others. While two decades have elapsed since “the day that changed the world,” 9/11 still resonates deeply with many of us who watched, listened to, and read about the mind-numbing event unfold in wall-to-wall coverage in real time. 

One of our own, James “Jimmy” Geyer ’82, was a bond trader for Cantor Fitzgerald in New York City and was killed when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Jimmy was a finance major and a member of the Golden Bear football and lacrosse teams. His football number, 22, was retired in a ceremony at a football game on October 13, 2001, and an award in his name—the Jimmy Geyer Award for Courage—is bestowed annually to a deserving member of the football team.

On this occasion, I ask that you take a moment to reflect on how events that ostensibly happen elsewhere in the distance and to other people oftentimes impact our community, directly or indirectly. I also ask that you take a moment to say a prayer or think about Jimmy Geyer and the other 2,976 souls whose lives were lost on that single morning. Western New England University stands firmly against violence, and especially terrorism, perpetrated against humanity anytime, anywhere.

With gratitude,

Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D.