Video Message From President Boomgaarden
With this video message I want to reassure the campus community that St. Joseph's University is strong, engaged, and capable of overcoming the challenges that have been placed before us by the COVID-19 Virus. Over the past weeks we have seen tremendous change – our lives have been altered, and we have had to adjust and modify our activities to fit the current circumstances as best we can. For our University, this has meant leaving our campuses, shifting to online modalities of learning, and even postponing our commencement ceremonies. I know that this last step is disappointing, particularly to our seniors and families, but we must continue to abide the safety recommendations of health experts and our leaders, who advise against and have restricted large gatherings. Will our traditional face-to-face commencement happen? Yes! But there will be a delay.
I also want to express my special gratitude to our faculty members and staff, whose dedication is allowing the University to move forward in these difficult times. Shifting, even temporarily, to new virtual learning approaches is no small feat! And yet, St. Joseph’s is doing it, and doing it very well: Our Carry On website, with information on teaching, learning, working, and advising online, has garnered national attention, and was cited just last week by the Chronicle of Higher Education as a model of how to approach learning and communication during this time of crisis.
Although none of us expected that we would have to take these steps, we have accomplished so much already. I have seen many creative approaches to problems and obstacles, and I am positive that much good will come of this situation. Moving outside of our comfort zone, embracing different pedagogies, mastering new technologies, and doing all this with a sense of family unity – such an approach is what St. Joseph’s has stood for since the beginning. Making the most out of difficult times is a hallmark of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Jean-Pierre Médaille, S.J., whose Maxims form an essential part of the Josephite spirituality, put it best over 300 years ago: “When things look bleak, trust God even more.”
I know that all of you — students, faculty, and staff alike — have already faced serious obstacles in life. You overcame them time and time again. There is no doubt that the current situation is anxiety producing and there are always voices ready to rob us of hope. But, having dealt with many difficult times myself (including the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina while a Dean at Loyola University New Orleans), I can assure you we will emerge from this crisis wiser, stronger and better than ever. We are, we do not seem to be, a vibrant and resilient community. I look forward to welcoming you all back to campus very soon!