Photo courtesy of Cam Welch Photography

Three and a half years ago, a much younger and more naive version of myself stumbled into a particular club meeting on a Monday night at 6 p.m. Little did I know that a tiny club of fellow writers and creators huddled around blue and red tables in the Driscoll Underground would soon become one of the most influential pieces of my college career. Little did I know that the Clarion would become my home, my purpose and my family during my four years as an undergraduate at DU.

Today, as I walk out of the Clarion office and pass the torch to the incoming Editor-in-Chief, I am a little older and a little wiser than my freshman self. I am also a lot more prepared for what lies ahead. And I have the Clarion to thank for that.

I have so much to thank this publication, organization, University and our readers for. But I will do my best to keep things short.

Thank you for embracing me as your leader with open arms. Thank you for entrusting me with this huge responsibility and for cheering me on along the way. Thank you for believing in me, even when I had no reason to believe in myself. Thank you for allowing me to represent DU on a local and national scale. Thank you for joining me on this unforgettable ride.

Before I go, below are a few notes for my dedicated staff and incredible friends:

To my forever friends and invaluable Clarion staff (writers and editors alike):

Do not be afraid of the challenge that is ahead of you; embrace it. You are serving your community in a way that is often overlooked, but I promise that your time and effort is not undervalued. There are going to be good days and bad days, crappy articles and outstanding articles, long production nights and short production nights. But, at the end of the day, you will always be able to call yourself a part of the Clarion team, which is something to celebrate. You are the student leaders of this campus and you are serving your fellow Pioneers in a unique and crucial way. Celebrate your successes. Learn from but move past your failures: you have so much to be proud of.

To Andrew Matranga, my mentor and our quirky (but much appreciated) Faculty Adviser:

Thank you for the laughs and lessons. You have taught me more about myself (as both a student and as a journalist) than I could have ever imagined. Thank you for asking the hard questions and for pushing me to be better. Thank you for the many memes and jokes. I will never forget what it was like to serve as your student leader.

To Kellsie Brannen, my phenomenal Executive Editor and dear friend:

I honestly don’t know what this year would have looked like without you. You were the best sidekick I could have ever asked for and I am so thankful for your hard work and for the many memories we share. Keep doing what you’re doing, Kellsie. You are going to go far and I cannot wait to see where life takes you.

To John Poe and Ryan Ninesling, my impressive and intelligent successors:

I won’t lie to you: this job is exhausting and often thankless. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s not enjoyable or worthwhile. In fact, it’s beyond that. You are now the fearless leaders of this storied publication and that is a huge accomplishment. You are both kind, intelligent and dedicated. These characters alone will take you far.

Cheers to the future and all of the amazing things ahead. I cannot wait to watch your journey unfold. You are making history, my friends. What you do today will last forever.

Forever bold, Crimson and Gold.

All my best,

Jillian J. Queri