Dear Drew students, faculty, and staff,
Welcome to the fall 2021 semester. We are excited to have a full campus once again, made possible by the hard work and selflessness of the Drew community.
I am pleased to welcome the newest members of the Drew community: 363 first-year College of Liberal Arts students, 57 transfer CLA students, and 40 CLA pathway students; 152 Drew Theological School students, some of whom began taking courses in the summer; 84 Caspersen School of Graduate Studies students; 10 new full-time faculty members; and all those new to our terrific staff.
As with the incoming classes, it is wonderful to see returning students, faculty, and staff, including those who were on campus in spring 2021, and those who are taking their first steps on campus for the first time following 18 months of learning, teaching, and working remotely. It is exciting that so many of us can be back together again in person.
I would like to express my gratitude to our faculty and staff for their hard work over the last 18 months for helping to ensure successful virtual fall 2020 and hybrid spring 2021 semesters, as well as their continued efforts throughout this summer to prepare for another unique semester this fall.
The unprecedented circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have necessitated a great deal of adaptation, for which students, parents, and families should also be commended. Their patience, understanding, and flexibility have made the work and planning of our faculty and staff worthwhile.
It is the spirit and mission of the Drew community that made my decision to accept an offer from the Board of Trustees to commit to a third year of my presidency an easy one. I believe in the work that the school is doing to prepare our students to be thoughtful, impactful contributors to the world’s good, armed with the skills, knowledge, and experiences needed to thrive. It is my goal to ensure that this mission remains wholly a part of the Drew experience, and I look forward to continuing to help make this a reality. I am optimistic.
I look forward to speaking with many of you as I take in the full Drew experience for the first time this semester, and will host regular office hours to meet with people.
For faculty and staff, I hope to see you at this evening’s Welcome Back Reception from 4-6 p.m. in and around Mead Hall. I also invite you to a “State of the University” meeting on Wednesday, September 15, at noon (additional details forthcoming).
While COVID-19 and the Delta variant continue to linger, I am confident that we will navigate another semester with an abundance of care for one another. A full campus is refreshing to see and experience, and it comes with the shared responsibility to promote the health and safety of our campus and Madison communities. It is critical that all members of the Drew community adhere to the guidance shared in the August 13 Welcome Back, Campus Health and Safety Protocols email, the August 25 Employee Vaccine Requirement email, and any future updates on campus policies, to be shared as needed.
Thank you all, once again, for the work you have done and the sacrifices you have made to help make this semester possible. I wish everyone a healthy, safe, and successful fall 2021.
Thomas J. Schwarz