Dear Faculty and Staff,
Well, we made it. We navigated a semester that none of us expected, and we came out on the other side. These final moments in a semester are always bittersweet, as endings tend to be. For many of us—faculty, staff and students—this one is tinged with quite a bit more sadness. Just as our classes and exams and special events over the second half of the semester took different forms, the May 2020 we anticipated all year long doesn’t look anything like we hoped it would. We’re all united in our disappointment about that, but we still have much to celebrate—and we should certainly do so.
I couldn’t be more proud of how we got to this point: with the great determination, spirit and versatility that I’ve come to expect from the Lehigh community. When I think back to where we were when I started sending weekly emails back in March, as we were just beginning remote teaching and learning, it was hard to imagine this end-of-semester moment, but I was confident we’d come together and get it done. And we did.
I know I’m not alone in feeling a sense of relief that this semester has come to an end, a sense of accomplishment that we were able to transition to remote instruction, and a sense of uncertainty about what the months ahead have in store. Every one of us should find a way to recognize all we’ve done—even if it didn’t look exactly as we imagined it would. Most of us had some help along the way, from our students, colleagues, LTS staff, and others. It’s a good time to thank them as well. Looking forward, let’s imagine how we can do even better in the future, whatever form the future may take.
During a typical year, the days ahead would be filled with celebration and ceremony. They still should be. So find the time to celebrate. Celebrate your own accomplishment of transitioning mid-semester to an entirely new course format. Celebrate the people who walked with you through this extraordinary time: your students, your colleagues, the members of your team. Celebrate the victories that before this pandemic may have seemed small, but now seem monumental. Celebrate the silver linings you may have found in all this, whatever they may be.
I encourage you to participate in the upcoming virtual university celebrations, including the celebration of our 2020 graduates, at which we’ll confer degrees and recognize the hard work of our undergraduate and graduate students. We look forward to the in-person Commencement and Doctoral Hooding ceremonies, which will be held at a later date, but until then, this virtual celebration is a great way for us to gather as a community from our homes near and far.
Thank you for everything. And congratulations on a job well done.