August 19, 2020
Dear Students and Families,
We have heard from many parents and students over the past week. The majority wrote with questions about their individual situations and we have pointed them toward their class dean, the financial aid office or whoever on campus is most appropriate to help with their particular issue. Some have written to express appreciation for the decision to move to a remote fall, and many others to express deep disappointment, and anger, at the decision or the timing of it. The situation is difficult and reasonable people understandably disagree on what course for the fall is best.
Please know that all of us here at the College understand and empathize with the loss with which you are grappling. We know that the College’s decision for the fall and the timing of that decision are taking an emotional toll on many of our students and their families, as well as on all of us on campus. We understand that you believed, as we did, that we would find a way to be together on campus. And that is what we tried to do. Ultimately the Board of Trustees met and decided that this was the most responsible course of action for our community.
Many have asked about the spring semester. We are planning to be on campus this spring. While we cannot control the trajectory of the virus, we will put every effort into the measures that we can control toward welcoming you all back to campus.
In the meantime, we have redoubled our effort to make this semester a meaningful and engaging remote experience for you. We will begin the year with our traditional Mass of the Holy Spirit, where our community welcomes new students, and parents and families bless them as they begin their new journey. This year the mass will be shared via livestream from St. Joseph Chapel on Sunday, September 13, at 11:30 a.m. All are welcome to join us in this virtual celebration marking the start of the academic year. On the first day of classes, September 1, at 11:00 a.m., The McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture will be hosting a live forum with Dr. Anthony Fauci ‘62, who will discuss the trajectory of the virus and ways we can respond and help, and then answer questions posed by students. For our first-year students, First Year Convocation will take place on August 31 at 4:00 p.m. and Fall Gateways will begin on August 29. More information will be shared with our first-year students in the coming days.
For college students anywhere in the country, whether on campus or remote, this fall semester will not be easy. And we know you have heard this, and many of you have had the opportunity to already experience this, but I think it bears repeating: it is in times like these where our Holy Cross community shines. We pull together, we support each other, and we emerge stronger. Students, your faculty, class deans and academic advisors are committed to supporting your academic journey. Our chaplains are working on programming to support you and nurture your spiritual development and practice. Our Counseling Center has extra resources to help you from a distance. Our Center for Career Development continues to offer advising and counseling as well as events to connect you with internship and professional opportunities. Our Office of Student Involvement is working overtime to create programs that allow you to meet people, to connect with your classmates and build relationships, and to have some fun together. And our alumni are here to provide you with advice and mentorship now and long into your future. Parents and families, please encourage your students to take advantage of all these resources.
We look forward to seeing you all in various ways this fall, to sharing this new experience with you and accompanying you as you walk forward together with the grace, resilience and spirit of determination we know lives in each of you as students at the College of the Holy Cross.
Rick Patterson ‘80
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Philip L. Boroughs, S.J.