You—the members of our University of Utah community—have responded to the current public health crisis with speed, skill, wisdom and compassion. In just a few weeks you have swiftly moved teaching and learning online; managed an unprecedented residence hall move-out, while supporting students who must remain on campus; and adopted telework. You have adjusted research operations; developed new protocols for ensuring safe facilities; created a centralized emergency fund for our students; maintained essential university operations; and accelerated U of U Health activities—particularly testing and patient care related to the coronavirus—to meet the urgent needs of our campus, community and society. Thank you for being outstanding professionals, remarkable colleagues, and caring members of our community.
With heartfelt gratitude for your achievements so far, I offer thoughts about three core values that have guided all we have done and will do:
- First, all the U’s actions are undertaken with the goal of supporting the health and well-being of our students, staff, and faculty. There is no question that some measures have been abrupt and disruptive. I empathize particularly with our students who are missing the end-of-year academic celebrations and traditions, and to all who are adapting to rapid change. As we navigate a complex and rapidly evolving situation, we will continue to make the health and safety of our community our top priority.
- A second core value is supporting our community as the University for Utah. U of U Health has assumed a leading role, in partnership with other health care providers, in delivering coronavirus testing and patient care. We are indebted to our dedicated health care providers for stepping up to address public health concerns for Utahns and our patients throughout the Intermountain West.
- Third, thanks to your ingenuity, we are gaining valuable insights about how we can position the U for future success when we emerge from this difficult situation. Despite the challenges of the moment, we may discover useful strategies to increase access and completion, effective approaches to health delivery that span distances, and cultivate new collaborations across the campus. I am grateful for your efforts to ensure a vibrant future for the U, both with the work you do every day and with your ideas for emerging from this time as a stronger and better university. Our history as an entrepreneurial, innovative institution positions us well for opportunities ahead.
I am deeply impressed with all you have done and with your shared commitment to health and safety, community, and our collective good. Standing together as One U, we will succeed in meeting every challenge and overcoming every obstacle. Thank you for your partnership in this journey.