End of Fall Semester and 2020

December 14, 2020

As we approach the end of the Fall Semester and the end of 2020, I find myself reflecting on what an unusual and challenging period this has been.  Almost nothing has seemed normal since the beginning of the pandemic.  Virtually everything we do as an institution was different for much of this year, but the one thing that has not been different is the resiliency and spirit of the Southeastern family.

In true Southeastern fashion, our faculty and staff pulled together to ensure our students could continue achieving their educational goals despite the disruptions brought by COVID-19.  This was never more apparent than in the four Commencement ceremonies we held last week to celebrate the accomplishments of our 2020 graduates.  Clearly, it was also a celebration of all the hard work by our faculty and staff to continue making educational opportunities available to our students and to do so safely.

I know that we are all fatigued and desperately want to be done with the pandemic.  Thankfully, due to the tireless efforts of brilliant scientists and researchers around the world, there is light at the end of the tunnel as multiple vaccines and therapeutic treatments are starting to become available.

While we certainly celebrate the prospect of effective vaccines and the initial inoculations occurring this week among frontline healthcare workers, it is apparent the widespread relief and return to normalcy we all seek is likely some months away. 

As a result, for the sake of our Southeastern family and our individual families, I urge you to continue to employ the safety measures that have been proven to slow the spread of COVID-19 – wear a mask, wash your hands, socially distance, and avoid gatherings.  Similarly, we can expect to begin the spring semester with the restrictions and safety protocols established by public health officials still in place. 

As we did for the beginning of the fall semester, the University has communicated information to students about what they should expect when they resume their studies for the spring.  This information is available at the Welcome to Spring website.

This time of year, we normally gather for a variety of events and celebrations to enjoy fellowship with each other in advance of the holiday season.  Many departments and units host holiday-related events and activities; likewise, the holiday open house at the president’s residence is a longstanding campus tradition.  Unfortunately, like so many other things that have been impacted by COVID-19, these traditional events will not be possible this year.

Like all of you, I look forward to a holiday season next year when we can resume the traditions that bring us together in fellowship.  Until then, I wish each of you an enjoyable, restful, and safe holiday break.

John L. Crain