This past weekend, I was able to greet several new students and families who moved belongings into the residence halls. They were thrilled with the beauty of campus and grateful for the warm St. Thomas welcome they received from all. It was a joy to be part of this excitement. I have been impatiently awaiting the opportunity to welcome you all to St. Thomas for the 2020-21 school year.

As more students, faculty and staff arrive, excitement permeates across our beautiful campus. We must, however, be vigilant; COVID-19 remains a threat to our community locally, nationally and globally. We must all remember that we are a community that appreciates each other. Our culture of caring for others is more essential than ever and must be evident in our behaviors.

I am proud that our culture of care is already evident. Everywhere I look, our students, faculty and staff are practicing behaviors that will make it more possible for us to stay open and stay together. Thank you for adhering to our Common Good Commitment. Thank you for protecting others by covering up, washing up and spacing out … and staying home when sick.

Your efforts show that you want to stay on campus as much as I do!

All undergraduate students should be on the lookout for your “Culture of Care Safety Kits,” which will be handed out across campus from Sept. 6-11. Watch your email and Tommie Link for your pickup time.

To our faculty and staff, I am so proud of how diligently you have worked to prepare for this year’s opening. Hand sanitizer stations, plexiglass and signage are everywhere (including yard signs in the neighborhood), contactless temperature stations are installed, and other countless measures are in place. These efforts reiterate our commitment to care for others.

As we move forward this semester, I want to reiterate that I am committed to our new norms not just for my health, but for yours. I mask up for all of St. Thomas and because I want to be on campus with you.

I cover up for you. And we all cover up for pursuit of the common good.

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