Interim President Richard YaoAs we prepare for the Fall semester, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for everyone in our campus community — our students who have shown such resilience and determination in spite of the multiple crises surrounding our society; our faculty and staff, the majority of whom so expertly transitioned their work and instruction into the virtual space while balancing the many other pushes and pulls of life; our essential staff who have worked on campus throughout the last year and a half while the majority of us were able to work remotely; and of course, all of you in the community who have supported us throughout this time with your generosity and care.

I always say in times of crisis a community can grow closer together or things can go off the rails very quickly. I am deeply grateful our campus community came together to navigate all of the challenges throughout the past year — by leaning into our shared experiences, working through adversity, and solving problems. Perhaps most importantly, we have the opportunity to build upon the bonds we developed and strengthened through these shared experiences, to continue learning with each other how to make creative, critical, and innovative thinking work for us, and to grow collectively stronger through our shared mission and values.

As we look ahead, there is still much work to do. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt on our campus and across higher education for years to come. There has been a monumental shift across society, a chance to reflect on and even reset the lives we had pre-COVID. While we do this reflection on an individual level, I call upon us as an academic community to do the same. Our lives may never “go back to normal” completely. So, what can we do with this unique opportunity? We share this incredibly special moment to start anew, identifying places where the old normal was not working and figuring out how to make the new normal better.

I look forward to being back on campus with all of you. The vibrancy of our campus community has always been a point of pride for me, and I am very much looking forward to connecting with everyone once again.


President's Yao's signature

Richard Yao, Ph.D.
Interim President

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© Spring 2021 / Volume 26 / Number 1 / Biannual

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