Writing this introduction to our newsletter feels very different this semester. I’m writing while sitting at my dining room table with my three kids playing (loudly) in the other room. I haven’t seen a student in person since Friday, March 6. I have seen more students and colleagues via Zoom than I can count. A terrible incident of police brutality in Minneapolis has sparked a nationwide movement. The death toll from the global pandemic is staggering. Indeed, this past semester was not what any of us –– students, faculty, staff, alumni, and our families –– planned for or wanted. But in spite of all of the uncertainty, stress, and sadness with everything going on in the world these days, there have been some bright spots. Like our Zoom graduation party, where we were able to celebrate with the families of our graduates more than we do when we celebrate in person. Or the many alumni who so thoughtfully answered my call to send in videotaped messages to our students. And how I will never take our beautiful campus (or my quiet office!) for granted again. Things are still uncertain and stressful. But I hope that for a few minutes while you read this newsletter, you can see that there are still wonderful things happening that we can celebrate in spite of everything.
One final note: this is the last newsletter that I will send out as department chair. I have so enjoyed serving in this role for the past four years. It gave me new ways to interact with students, alumni, and my faculty colleagues. And I am happy to pass on the role to my very capable colleague, Professor Brandi Lawless. We will be in good hands under her leadership.
Hoping you and your family stay safe and healthy.