The concept of character being forged in fire has been witnessed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Dire circumstances forced all of us to adapt to a reality no one on the planet had experienced in more than a century, and it provided an opportunity for strong foundations to become even stronger. I believe that has been the case with the RFU community, which has reinforced the pride I have in it through actions large and small.
Whether on campus or out in our hometowns or when visiting our families, we’ve seen since early 2020 how the concept of being a trusted leader has evolved in meaning.
Early in the pandemic, students, faculty and staff transitioned for the first time to entirely remote delivery of teaching and learning. This was a reality that demanded versatility and sound judgment to ensure our academic responsibilities were met. The entire campus community went above and beyond their assigned duties during a time of unparalleled challenge, seeking to persevere and excel while navigating the disruptions of COVID in their personal lives.
As the months went along, one trait that characterized the response to COVID was the leadership displayed by all members of the RFU community. Whether on campus or out in our hometowns or when visiting our families, we’ve seen since early 2020 how the concept of being a trusted leader has evolved in meaning. Young adults took more active roles in caring for their loved ones, served as contact tracers or volunteered at COVID vaccination sites. Everyone sought to provide comfort and cause for optimism among their friends and families. We supported each other without being told to do so.
The Board of Trustees paid tribute over the summer to this spirit of leadership by recognizing the resilience, wisdom and compassion displayed during the pandemic. The innate traits of strong leaders are enduring, and I have faith that the leadership we’ve witnessed all across the campus community during the pandemic will continue to guide us forward until this public health crisis comes to a definitive end. Thank you, all.