Dear Alumni, Parents, and Friends,
I hope this note finds you all healthy and well. In March, I wrote you about the University’s immediate response to the coronavirus, and described the ways in which we were adjusting our event activity to protect the health and safety of our staff, alumni, volunteers, and friends.
Two months later, we are all continuing to make adjustments in both our personal and professional lives. Faculty and administrators are still modeling a variety of scenarios related to when our campus will open fully for in-person instruction. Our medical center continues to conduct scientific research and provide both public health guidance to combat the pandemic, and critical health care. There is so much uncertainty, however, that it’s hard to imagine a quick return to the large-scale social activities we all enjoy.
It is because of this uncertainty that I am writing today to let you know Meliora Weekend will not be held in October 2020 as usual. This was not an easy decision to make, but it is the responsible one given the public health concerns and the fiscal constraints the University is currently experiencing. We hope to move 2020 Reunion celebrations to June 2021, and plan to host our traditional Meliora Weekend in October 2021.
We considered several factors before making this decision. First and foremost, our campuses must be safe for our students, faculty, and staff, so that they can do the most important work of a University, which is teaching and learning. While no final decision has been made about fall semester yet, it’s unlikely large gatherings like the ones at Meliora Weekend would be possible.
Second, we must be responsible stewards of the University’s resources. The pandemic has created serious financial consequences for the University and we want to control expenses carefully.
Finally, we heard from many of you that even when physical distancing measures are lifted, you may not feel comfortable traveling or gathering in large groups. In a recent survey, we found that seven out of 10 reunion alumni support the idea of a June 2021 celebration. Ultimately, we all want to be able to connect with our classmates, have fun, and celebrate in a responsible, safe manner. The health and well being of our alumni, parents and friends is a priority.
During these difficult times, sustaining the broader University community is more important than ever. We may not celebrate Meliora Weekend in October, but our team will be working to connect all of us in meaningful ways—to support each other, and the University.
Thank you for your continued partnership.
Thomas J. Farrell ’88, ’90W
Senior Vice President for University Advancement