Dear Marquette colleagues,
Welcome to the start of what is sure to be an academic year unlike any other.
As we begin the semester, I think it is important for me to recognize how difficult the past six months have been for our campus community. At our Aug. 13 COVID-19 Town Hall, I mentioned that like many of you, I’ve been in higher education most of my career. For those of us who have been at this for a while, we’ve gotten used to the rhythm of the academic cycle. We start each year with excitement and welcome a new class of students to campus. We then work hard throughout the fall semester and make it through finals. After finals we get to take a deep breath, relax and spend time with the family over the holidays before starting the spring semester. The spring semester tends to move fast as we sprint to the end and celebrate our amazing graduates. We are all pretty worn out by the time we get to graduation. Luckily, during the summer, the campus becomes quieter, life tends to slow down, and we get to recharge our batteries before we welcome a new class of freshman to campus and repeat the cycle.
I need to acknowledge how different this year has been.
Not only did all of you make a monumental effort to pivot to online learning last spring, but since then, you have worked harder, been under more stress and resolved more difficult challenges than any summer in our university’s history. Our faculty literally spent thousands of hours preparing for the unknown and had to create courses that could be delivered in multiple modalities. Our staff worked tirelessly on the IT, health, and safety infrastructure for our classrooms, residence halls, dining facilities and co-curricular areas of campus. Members of our COVID-19 response team met every day to develop and implement a recovery plan that allowed us to open this fall.
To all our faculty and staff, I want to recognize your hard work and acknowledge that many of you are tired as we start the fall semester. On behalf of our students and our administration, I want to thank every member of our faculty and staff for stepping up during a difficult time for our campus. Please know that your efforts have not gone unnoticed. We all owe you our gratitude.
To those of you who are new to Marquette, please know you are joining outstanding colleagues who are willing to go far beyond the extra mile for our community.
I’d like to tell you that it is going to get easier over the next few months. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The pandemic is not going away, our university is facing significant financial challenges, and recent scenes from Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake remind us of the racial justice crisis that exists in our country.
To be frank, it’s going to be a difficult year. Despite all the uncertainty that we face, I am more confident than ever that we will rise to meet our challenges and accomplish great things this year. This confidence comes from witnessing your unfailing commitment to serving Marquette and our students.
I wish you all the best of luck for the 2020-2021 academic year and am praying that this time of struggle brings us closer together as a Marquette community. Thank you for all you do.
Dr. Michael R. Lovell