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Welcome to fall semester!

It will take all of us working together to stay together.

A message from President Ruth Watkins

Dear students, faculty and staff,

Welcome to the start of a new academic year! It has been encouraging to see students and their families again on our campus—all practicing the health guidelines that are so necessary for us to have a successful semester.

There is no question we are in uncharted territory with this pandemic. It will take all of us working together to stay together. The top five actions that will make that possible: wear a face covering, physically distance, wash your hands frequently, gather only in small groups and stay home if you are feeling ill.

We have taken many actions at the university to promote health and reduce risk of the virus spreading, from moving most classes online to reducing the number of students in our residence halls and setting up classrooms to maintain physical distance. The work of our planning and facilities teams to prepare for fall have been outstanding.

You can read more about our measures at Please visit this website frequently as it is the best resource for how to stay healthy, keep informed and follow what is happening on campus.

To our students, staff and faculty: One of the most important things you can do is to only gather in small groups—both on campus and off campus—and follow our guidelines about how to do that safely when you do.

To our students: While we have done much to prepare our campus for a new semester, we need your help to make this work. Please read and follow our basic hygiene tips. Our faculty and staff have worked hard over the summer to provide you with a great educational experience. There are many resources available to help you succeed. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of the many offices and centers on campus that are here to help you.

To our staff and faculty: Thank you so much for your patience and hard work to make this semester a success! I have been so impressed with your creative approaches to learning and building community. I am grateful for your dedication and commitment to this great university and, most especially, to sharing knowledge with the next generation.

We are in an unprecedented moment in history, one shaped by a confluence of events—a pandemic, the movement to end systemic racism, economic challenges. It is a moment in which research universities like ours will play a major role in leading society forward. Our mission has never been more important.

Thank you for being part of this journey.

Ruth Watkins