Dear students, faculty and staff members,
The month of March witnessed immense changes across our campus and in the lives of most members of the University family.
We cannot yet anticipate fully what April might hold as the world continues to grapple with the effects of COVID-19.
In uncertain times such as these, it is important to catalogue the things for which we are grateful. It is equally as essential to thank those special individuals whose mere presence – even from a socially appropriate distance – offers the comfort and support we all need right now.
For me, it is easy to identify the people for whom I am appreciative. Keeping the list brief is the difficult task.
I first want to thank our students for their agility in embracing virtual course instruction and for their continued enthusiasm as they pursue their educations in this new way. Though students are now learning remotely, I want them to know that ensuring their success remains as close to the heart of our institutional mission as it ever was.
The changes students have navigated would not have been possible without the steady hands of our faculty members. In an extraordinarily short period, they adapted courses and mastered new delivery methods. Amid all this change, they’ve continued to embody a passion for knowledge that engages students even from afar.
Staff members in departments and offices too numerous to list have worked through myriad questions and have kept student services running and essential business functions on track. While most operations are now conducted remotely, health and safety personnel have remained on campus, as have dining, housing, facilities management and custodial employees, each working to ensure the wellbeing of the campus and our student residents.
Finally, I want to thank our alumni and friends. The giving nature of this community and of our University family is always apparent, but uncertain times such as these inspire levels of generosity and support that never cease to astound. We are a culture that embraces our neighbor, even when we can’t do so physically. Sometimes, just saying “we’re here for you” is enough, and that’s the message I’ve heard countless times in the past month.
My appreciation for everyone I’ve mentioned – and for so many more who I have not – is boundless. Before I close, I want to encourage you to make your own list. Call or Facetime the people for whom you are grateful. Say hello to your neighbor. Text your mother. Email an old friend.
Let them hear from you. Let them know you care.
Each of us is dealing with the uncertain nature of this global crisis in our own way. But none of us is experiencing this alone. Acts of kindness and words of gratitude matter now more than ever.
Thoughtfulness can become a tie that binds us all, even while we are apart. It can bring us together – and that’s how we will overcome this latest challenge.
Dr. Joseph Savoie