Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff—COVID-19 Update (April 22, 2020)

To students, faculty, and staff,

Thankfully, to our knowledge, our campus remains free of COVID-19 infections, but as I noted last week, the pandemic has impacted the lives of students, alumni, and their families, and it continues to cause very real hardship and heartbreak across the country and around the world. In fact, we learned yesterday that the spouse of an alumnus died a week ago from complications of COVID-19.
These are days of anxiety and worry, and I wish I could do more to relieve some of this. On top of the universal concerns about public health, the condition of the economy, and uncertainty about when the constraints of social distancing may be relaxed, we face challenges unique to higher education in general and, in particular, to what we do at Bowdoin. Along with other members of the administration, I will continue to update you on a timely basis with information on important issues, the work being done, and any decisions. (This will be the last of my regular COVID-19 messages.)

As you know, there are now three separate groups led by faculty and with membership drawn from the faculty, our staff, and the student body that are at work on the challenges before us. I am tremendously grateful to those who are serving on these groups, and I know the College will be well served by what they learn and by their advice. All three groups can benefit from your ideas and perspective, and I hope you will continue to use the links on this page to share your thoughts and suggestions. And, if there is anything you want to share with me directly, please send it my way.

As I am sure you know, today is Earth Day, and it has been fifty years since we began this annual moment of recognition for the challenges facing our planet and its environment. Sadly, the issues of climate change, among others, are not only unresolved but seem farther from our grasp than ever. Notwithstanding this sobering reality, I hope you share my pride in the work that has gone on at Bowdoin for many years to understand and address the environment and climate change—in our classrooms, labs, performance and artistic spaces, the McKeen Center, and virtually everywhere—as well as the progress we have made as a campus community around sustainability, including reaching carbon neutrality. Of course, there is so much more to be done, and I hope you will join me in using today to reflect on how we can each make a difference in this work.  

In closing, on Friday, George Lopez—our Robert Beckwith Artist-in-Residence and director of the Bowdoin Orchestra—will perform live from Kanbar Auditorium in Studzinski Hall. The performance will be livestreamed and shared with Bowdoin alumni. I hope you can take some time beginning at 4:00 p.m. EDT to reconnect to the College through George and his music. You can register for the performance here. Seems like a great way to start the weekend!

Thank you for all you are doing to stay safe and to support one another.

All the best,