November 20, 2020
Dear Colleagues and Students,
In my fall back to school message, I wrote that after all of our planning and effort, we have one chance to get the semester right. Three months later, I say with pride that we got it right. For months, we have worn masks, have kept our distance, have tested, traced, isolated, quarantined, thinned the campus, and cleaned our spaces, all in the interest of promoting health and safety.
And here we are on our final day of on-campus fall classes, successful in our efforts to protect one another and ourselves.
This is truly a moment to give thanks.
I’ll start with a collective thanks to the entire campus community. We stayed true to our campus's roots and character, showing the care, compassion, and kindness that all of us needed, especially considering the extra stress and anxiety the pandemic imposed.
My colleagues on the faculty and staff have stood together in support of students and have continued to extend the boundaries of research and creative activity, including working on projects to combat COVID-19. You have shouldered extra responsibilities in the transition to remote instruction and service, and you haven't missed a beat even while balancing caregiving and other personal obligations. I am grateful every day for your sacrifice and dedication.
Following in our campus traditions of respect and integrity, students have diligently followed campus safety guidelines, put others first, and stepped up to the challenge. Though many of you were anticipating meeting new friends and classmates in person, you have doubled down on Zoom, Canvas, and social channels to stay engaged and focused on academic success. I know my colleagues join me in thanking and congratulating all of you for your continuing progress and achievement.
Together, this semester has taught us that even a global pandemic will not stop our campus. We have grown stronger and smarter this semester. We have become better students and better teachers. For all of this, I am immensely grateful.
With both gratitude and anticipation, I look forward to our return to campus in February and wish you all a safe and healthy Thanksgiving.
Nasser H. Paydar