The sun shines through windows in the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center.

Photos of the Year - Mark Brown

It’s sometimes hard to remember that this year started out with a semblance of normalcy. Some students took J-Term study trips and sports teams were still competing into March as COVID-19 slowly began to dominate our lives. The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police officers in May opened wounds and brought renewed calls for reform and racial justice to the streets. Suddenly, life before George Floyd’s death and the pandemic seemed like a distant memory. 

After eight years working at St. Thomas, I still find comfort and joy in the academic community’s traditions. I photograph earnest freshmen taking their first, tentative steps through the Arches, full of hope and uncertainty about all of the possibilities before them. Four years later, I photograph these students again at graduation. I’ve gotten to know some of them well, and it’s easy to see how much they’ve grown and evolved during their four years here on campus. 

This year, for obvious reasons, was completely different. Many of our community’s most hallowed traditions were canceled or transformed for the first time in the school’s history. Missing out on in-person commencement ceremonies, March Through the Arches and other events was a huge loss for everyone at St. Thomas. But that's not what I’ll remember about this year. Instead, I’ll remember how this community came together in support of one another. 

Faculty, staff and students sacrificed a lot over the past ten months. Looking back on this year through photos, I see a campus community that has admirably adapted and evolved during one of the most challenging years in recent memory.