Dear faculty and staff,
It is hard to believe that only five weeks have passed since you managed the herculean task of shifting university operations online. Most of you are only a couple of weeks away from winding down your Spring semester or quarter and moving into a summer of more distance instruction, research, or perhaps uneasy rest.
During this time, I often find myself reflecting on how Louisiana responded during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the season that distinguished Louisianians as a resilient people while also revealing some chronic inequities and structural challenges. Disasters and times of grave uncertainty often create in people a desire to come together. Of course, I don’t mean physically, at least in our current circumstance. But even virtually, the collaborative spirit rises above the social media noise, the political partisanship, and even the plentiful examples of idiocy, allowing us to leverage our collective efforts and consciousness for the public good. I see it throughout our member institutions—in our presidents, in our faculty, and in our students.
I was pleased to talk about our systemic response during this week’s Board of Regents meeting. The commissioner asked system heads to address COVID-19 through the lens of our biggest challenge, accomplishment, and opportunity as we respond and move forward. I hope you will take a few minutes to review the remarks as I attempted to share the difficulty of the human impact, the immense pride resulting from your work, and the boundless opportunities ahead:
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the way we live, work, and interact. We will never fully recover from the human toll of this crisis. From the economic toll, while currently severe and untenable, we can recover if we are willing to develop and execute a plan that focuses not on where we have been but where it is possible for us to go. A tremendous future of hope and promise awaits those who are prepared and willing.
Throughout this crisis, you have exhibited a resiliency and fortitude that will be necessary to develop our citizenry and meet the extraordinary demands of our post-pandemic world. Despite the immediate challenges, I am bullish on our future especially if we seize control of our destiny and implement a plan worthy of our people. That is the task before us.
Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to benefit our students and communities at large during this extraordinary season of disruption. Your work is important. Your work is appreciated.
For your future. For our future.