Every year, Thanksgiving provides an opportunity for each of us to pause and show our appreciation for the positives in our lives. This year, during such an incredibly challenging time, our holiday celebrations will look different. But 2020 also provides an opportunity to focus on and be grateful for those core things that really matter: family, friends, health and compassion for all human beings. I am also thankful for and encouraged by the progress being made toward vaccines that will hopefully allow next year’s holidays to feel more familiar.
I am particularly grateful for our talented faculty, dedicated staff, great students and engaged partners in the campus community and beyond. Your cooperation and support have been essential as we have responded to the unprecedented challenges forced upon us during the pandemic. We are especially proud of our students for doing excellent work this fall under difficult circumstances. Their personal resilience and maturity with our virus prevention protocols have been exceedingly helpful and truly impressive. I am grateful for the hard work and adaptability of our faculty and staff, who went from a campus-based operating model to a remote model, and then to a hybrid model that has reclaimed many of the advantages of in-person study while keeping COVID-19 largely at bay. My thanks to everyone for making this semester as resoundingly successful as it could have been.
Among all of the chaos and pain we’ve endured this year, we should be proud of our accomplishments and optimistic about our future. We have reorganized many of our administrative operations, modernized our procurement and HR open enrollment processes, and constrained our spending to help respond to the financial challenges that are sweeping across higher education. We launched new online graduate programs. We kicked off a new marketing campaign. Through it all, our student success teams have done their best to provide students with as close to a normal experience as possible.
This year has presented formidable challenges – health, finances, racial justice – but we are pulling together to make TU an institution that not only survives tough times, but thrives.
I thank you for being such loyal members of the TU team. In appreciation for all you do, we are closing campus for a few extra days – Nov. 25 and Dec. 21-23 – so all employees can enjoy additional paid time off to spend with their loved ones.
So, as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Day next week, take time to rest and reflect on our past and our future. Give thanks for good friends and good health. For medical staff and frontline workers. For research and technology. For teachers, learners and leaders. And give thanks for the members of the TU community – near and far – who make our world a better place.
With deep gratitude,
Janet K. Levit