A message from Dean Laurie Elish-Piper

Laurie Elish-Piper
Laurie Elish-Piper

At our fall all-college social event, we did a poll asking, “Which team is most likely to win the 2020 World Series?“

Not surprisingly, the majority of us believed that the Chicago Cubs or Chicago White Sox would be the last team standing. Our congratulations instead go to the Los Angeles Dodgers – and to the five social attendees who bet on them correctly!

The end of the baseball season, changing leaves, lower temperatures and midterm exams are all indications that fall is in full swing. In years past, we’d be dropping off our carved and decorated pumpkins in the Learning Center this week to be judged, but because that is not possible this year, I’m going to ask that you participate in a virtual spin on that event. I hope you’ll share photos of your decorated and carved pumpkins, your decorated houses and/or your costumes with us if you are celebrating fall and Halloween this weekend. We’ll assemble a photo gallery and share with everyone. This is one simple way to connect back to our team while we are physically distanced.

Another way to stay connected is to participate in one of our upcoming “Drop-Ins with the Deans” meetings. We held our first session two weeks ago and enjoyed getting caught up with several of you. There is no formal agenda for these meetings; they are just opportunities to share updates, ask questions and informally network with colleagues. Our next dates are listed in the calendar section below.

Before we know it, the end of the semester will be upon us, and I want to make sure you are aware of the university’s decision to recognize all 2020 graduates via virtual commencement ceremonies in December.

2020 Doctoral Ceremony
One ceremony for all colleges.
Saturday, December 12 at 5 p.m.

May 2020 Undergraduate
and Master’s Ceremony

Separate ceremonies for each college.
Sunday, December 13 at 10 a.m.

December 2020 and August 2020 Undergraduate and Master’s Ceremony
Separate ceremonies for each college.
Sunday, December 13 at 2 p.m.

While these will be pre-recorded ceremonies, there are plans to have a live component for those tuning in to watch at the above mentioned times. We will share more information on ways you can engage in these ceremonies when the details are known. For now, I just want to make sure the dates are on your calendars.

Before I close my letter to you, I want to thank you – once again – for your support of our students and fellow colleagues this semester. I know this is particularly hard when many of us are feeling tired and worried as the pandemic stretches on and as we are bombarded with campaign ads and election outcome predictions.

With the increased restrictions and cooler temperatures keeping us indoors more than we’d like, my hope is that each of you finds some time to take a break, recharge and have some fun. I encourage you to carve that pumpkin or put on a costume, watch a scary movie, read a good book or connect with an old friend this week.

We are all in this together so please reach out if you are needing support.

Stay safe and healthy,


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