Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Dear Students, Colleagues and Families,

In the past few days I’ve written to you with operational details of how we will move forward with delivery of our curriculum. Today, however, I wanted to write with a more personal message to convey the University’s commitment to all of you in this unprecedented moment.

Every day at noon, the carillon in the Burns Bell Tower has played our Alma Mater. In the first verse of our Alma Mater are these words: honorfaith and couragetruth and loyalty. These have always been guiding words for our experience at Wilkes. At this time of uncertainty, as we plan our short- and long-term response to COVID-19, these seven words have resonance for us as we continue to reach out to you with the latest news from campus.

First, I want you to know that we honor the experience you, our students, colleagues and alumni have at Wilkes. We are doing everything we can to assure the continuity of your experience, but we will do so in a way that places your health and safety foremost in our concern.

Second, we have faith that this is a temporary situation and we will find our way through this -- with patience, resolve and care for one another.

Third, we all need to have the courage to face this adversity head-on. While we are unclear how long we will all be away from campus, we won’t lose our bearings and we will continue to remember those values that make Wilkes unique and special for all of us. A hallmark of a Wilkes education is that we extract wisdom from our experience. We will capitalize on our past experiences in this moment of challenge, and we will call upon all we know about our students and their families, our colleagues, our alumni and our community to restore the experience at Wilkes that we have come to value.

Fourth – truth. We are committed to keeping you informed of the latest news from campus and sharing that with you in a timely way. And, we pledge to do that forthrightly and candidly.

And lastly – loyalty. We have been so touched by the responses we’ve received all across campus from every one of our constituencies who have pulled together to provide support for one another. The loyalty that you demonstrate is the spirit of Wilkes that will carry us through this temporary interruption and dislocation.

One of the truths of this COVID-19 pandemic is that things evolve quickly and that decisions we have made on one day may have to be changed the next based on new guidance from local, state and federal authorities. While you are away from campus, please continue to check your Wilkes email and Wilkes’ social media accounts for the latest updates. You can also find the latest information at our Wilkes COVID-19 web page. That page also has a resource that allows you to submit your questions to us. We’ll work every day to address those questions and post our answers on the website.

Until we are with you again, please stay well and stay informed. And, through all of this – Be Colonel!