A message from Dean Laurie Elish-Piper

Laurie Elish-Piper
Laurie Elish-Piper

We made it!

As we close another successful semester of teaching, learning, research and service, despite extraordinarily challenging circumstances, I’m thrilled that I can write (and live!) those happy words.

Reasons for optimism are easy to find.

I’m fully vaccinated, and I’m encouraged by watching the daily reports that count the rising numbers of shots in arms because I know how important that step is in reaching “the other side” of this virus.

NIU, meanwhile, is planning to hold in-person, limited-attendance, outdoor commencement events this spring, including ceremonies June 4 through June 6 for 2021 graduates and from June 25 through 27 for 2020 graduates.

More in-person activities are coming to campus this summer, with appropriate precautions, which is a great sign. Even better: Members of NIU’s leadership are preparing for a “more normal” fall semester, which is a truly exciting sign.

But what is mostly buoying my joy and enthusiasm is YOU!

Your flexibility, creativity and teamwork continue to make a huge difference as we support our students and each other through this difficult time. Your commitment, perseverance and innovation have advanced our college, our programs, our experiential learning initiatives and our outreach.

Thanks to all of you, we’re growing – not retreating – and I’m incredibly proud to serve as your dean and deeply grateful for everything you contribute to our success.

Please enjoy some time to relax, reflect and recharge this summer as we anticipate a fall semester that approaches a return toward traditional formats and abounds with more opportunities for the kind of outside-the-box thinking that has allowed us to flourish.

My best,


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