As this historic academic year now comes to a close, I would like to take a moment to offer my deepest thanks for all you have done—and continue to do—for our students and for Gettysburg College.
On my first official day in office, I sent an email to the campus community, in which I referenced a venerable proverb that reminds us that “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Over the past weeks and months, I have reflected upon this proverb often, and how it speaks powerfully to the nature and the values of this community. Let me underscore once more how grateful I am to be among people who are as committed to traveling far, and together, in service to this remarkable College. With our sights set next on a vibrant and productive fall semester, I look forward to being part of all we will accomplish.
Honoring our Colleagues’ Service and Retirements
I recognize that it is customary for us to gather at this time of year to honor our administrators for their years of service to the College, as well as to celebrate our newest retirees. Although we considered hosting our awards ceremony virtually this spring, we ultimately came to the decision to reconvene as normal in the fall for an in-person campus event, once we may appropriately do so. In the meantime, our honorees will be notified of the gifts available to them as a thank you for their many contributions. I know I speak on behalf of our entire Gettysburg College community in expressing my gratitude for their service, and how much we anticipate the day when we can offer a fitting tribute on campus.
In the spirit of thanks, I would also like to take this opportunity to announce a small step that the College is taking as an acknowledgement and gesture of our appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the entire community over this past year, and especially over the unusual period that has marked the past several months. To permit us all to have a well-earned extended Memorial Day weekend, Friday, May 22 will be a College holiday. Employees who work in offices and departments that do not have the flexibility to take off on May 22 will have a floating holiday to be used before July 31, 2020. I hope you all enjoy this well-deserved time off—and away from Zoom!
Employee Assistance Fund
Of course, in this time of retrospection, it is important to acknowledge that these disorienting final four months of the spring semester have imposed unexpected financial burdens on members of our campus community.
In keeping with our commitment to uplift and support one another, I have heard from many of you asking how you can help colleagues who may need a hand. In response to that characteristic Gettysburg impulse, we have established a Gettysburg College Employee Assistance Fund, which will provide financial assistance to employees facing unexpected hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The College has initiated the fund and Gettysburg employees may contribute additional support via tax-deductible donations. We thank you in advance for your consideration and your generosity.
Celebrating the Class of 2020
With exams now concluded, our focus turns to best honoring and celebrating this resilient group of Gettysburg seniors. In a matter of months, the world has changed for the Class of 2020, and I have watched with admiration their determined response. This class has truly earned our heartfelt congratulations and support.
While our graduates’ in-person Commencement Ceremony is now scheduled for October 10 on campus, we will host a special Senior Celebration in their honor this Sunday at 11 a.m. The virtual festivities, broadcasted on the College Facebook and YouTube accounts, will feature brief remarks from Senior Class President Callie Fucarino ’20 and later from me, reflecting on our seniors’ last four years. I encourage you to attend these online events. I know it will mean a great deal to them to know you were present and to read your well wishes!
I will also host my next Facebook Live Town Hall on Wednesday, May 20. At this event, I will provide a reflection on the 2019-20 academic year, offer insights into our current thinking for the impending fall semester and beyond, and, of course, do my best to answer the questions on your mind.
In closing, let me again simply say thank you. While there is much to admire about Gettysburg College, my mind so often returns to our people—your character, your perseverance, and your unwavering commitment to our shared mission. It is because of you—and all that you so readily offer to our students’ educational experience—that I am confident we will continue to grow even stronger as a College.