Dear UM Family,
Welcome to finals week! Our successful completion of the 2020 spring semester is an exceptional accomplishment. Each of you deserves recognition for your persistence and flexibility in the face of unprecedented challenges. It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, we were together on campus, preparing for spring break and looking ahead to a beautiful spring spending time on the Oval. The ensuing path presented us with an unexpected turn, requiring our collective creativity.
As we bring the semester to a close, I want to share what you’ve inspired in me.
First, I am deeply grateful to be part of this UM family. The manner in which our community has worked together to transition to remote learning, develop effective telework options for employees, rethink housing and dining for the safety of our resident students, cancel or postpone events, and make medium- and long-term plans in a dynamic environment has been remarkable. Thank you for contributing to our collective response in the face of significant disruption. The goodwill with which you have approached the inconvenient changes demanded of you has reminded me that our mission is indeed an altruistic and worthy one: service to those who will impact the world long after we are gone.
I am inspired by the resilience I’ve seen across campus. There are simply too many examples to list, but your responsive work, innovative planning, creative design and urgent implementation epitomize the resilient spirit of our University. That spirit will carry us through this difficult chapter and the new challenges we will face this summer, fall and beyond.
I am hopeful. The UM family is made up of exceptionally talented, intelligent and creative students, faculty and staff. What we have endured these past weeks and the manner in which we have responded to each challenge gives me great hope for what UM will be on the other side of coronavirus. The plans we are making for summer instruction and for welcoming students back to campus in the fall are evidence-based, smart and comprehensive. Our commitment to do all we can to ensure our students continue to pursue their goals and dreams is steadfast.
I am proud of the roughly 2,100 students who will complete degrees this week and over the summer term. I am proud of the students who have successfully completed the semester and will continue academic progress toward their degrees. And I am proud of the students who are choosing to continue their learning by applying to become part of the UM family each day, showing their confidence in the University of Montana, its leadership, faculty and staff.
As you prepare for what comes next, please take care of yourselves. These past several weeks have been filled with uncertainty and the need to adapt quickly. I hope you’ve felt supported, encouraged and inspired by the many ways in which our community has come together. I look forward to the time when we are able to gather and celebrate our University, our community and the bright future we continue to build in this extraordinary place.