University of St. Thomas Magazine Fall/Winter 2020

up front


I am thankful for our brilliant faculty, who always put our students first and have completely overhauled their instruction methods to accommodate online, in-person, hybrid, CoFlex, HyFlex and just about any other “flex” modality you can imagine. I am thankful for our service staff – everyone from our cleaning and dining staffs to our Tommie Central workers and new contact tracers – for serving right on the front lines of our response to the pandemic. I am thankful for our leaders and administrators for spending countless hours and losing nights of sleep pouring over every last detail to ensure our community members were safe. I am thankful for our students, who demonstrated unbelievable resiliency in the face of uncertainty and continued performing exceptionally well in their studies and helped sustain a culture of care on campus. And yes, we did this while managing to complete construction of our new residence halls and the Iversen Center for Faith, forming the Morrison Family College of Health’s new School of Nursing, becoming the first NCAA Division III to gain approval to transition directly to Division I, and setting the course for our next five-year strategic plan. I could not be prouder of how this community has responded in the face of such adversity. There is still so much work to be done, and I have more confidence than ever in St. Thomas’ resiliency. I thank all of you for your support and will hold you and your families in my prayers this Christmas season and beyond. May God’s peace be with you. n



hank you, 2020. … No, really, thank you. That may seem like an odd statement, considering this was one of the most challenging years many of us have faced. This year did not unfold how anyone would have predicted (or wanted). The frightening onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that took hundreds of thousands of lives across the globe. The heartbreak of social injustice that overtook cities in the wake of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Jacob Blake and countless others. A presidential election that left the country very divided. And even as I write this, another deadly surge of COVID-19 is sweeping our nation. Yes, it feels 2020 cannot end soon enough. And yet, 2021 will not magically bring an end to our challenges. Even so … I am thankful. For all its trials, 2020 has reminded us of our strength and resilience. In New Testament scripture, James reminds us to consider it “all joy … when you encounter various trials for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Like the rest of the world, St. Thomas was greatly tested in 2020, and the strength of our community has helped us persevere. For that, I am so thankful.


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