5.21.20: A Message for Faculty and Staff from President Simon

A message from President Simon to faculty and staff.

Dear Colleagues,  

I write to simply say, thank you. 

This academic year brought challenges none of us could have expected. You were asked to adapt and solve problems with no guidebook and on short notice. Many of you were, and are, juggling your work responsibilities with personal commitments to your families, friends and communities. 

Despite the numerous challenges, you were there for our students and each other and remained committed to exceptional work. At a point in the year when normally we might be catching our breath, this year we know much work remains in front of us as we look to the summer and plan for the eventual resumption of activities on campus. 

I asked students to pause at the end of the academic semester to reflect on all that they accomplished, and I will ask you to do the same, even as we press forward. 

Your numerous accomplishments have been nothing short of historic. The abrupt shift in daily life was challenging for our whole community. But you found a way to move forward with determination and to make the best of an unthinkable situation. In just four days, you moved more than 1,000 courses online, as well as other support areas. The core work of the academic semester required its own continued adaptation and adjustments. You connected with our students virtually, held vital workshops to connect our community, and provided alternative formats to mark milestone moments, such as the conferring of degrees and academic achievement. A small but mighty cohort of you remained, and continue to remain, on campus to support students and maintain essential university operations. 

Each and every action from all members of our community—your contribution—was integral to Lehigh rising to the challenge.  

We successfully managed the situation dealt us this semester, and now we have the opportunity to learn from it to become better. Take some valuable time to think back on the moments that made you proud this semester, and know that we continue to be in this together. Again, thank you for your valued contributions in support of our mission, congratulations, and I look forward to when we’re physically together again. 

Sincerely, 

John D. Simon ’19P 

President