Novemember 20, 2020

Faculty and staff,

With the on-ground portion of this semester largely ending today, I want to take this opportunity to express my profound gratitude for everyone’s efforts this fall. This semester has certainly been different from any other previous semester for higher education institutions. However, we should be very proud of the many ways we have been successful in providing the best educational experience we could under very challenging circumstances.

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you will join me in taking a moment to be thankful for all of the members of our university system community. As for me, I have a long list of things to be thankful for which starts with everyone who spent the summer developing plans for how we could deliver our curriculum and provide our services and then spent the fall monitoring and adjusting these plans, with a consistent focus on health and safety and educational quality as the top priorities. 

I am also thankful for the individual faculty and staff who did a great job of adjusting what they do in their classrooms (face-to-face and virtual) and offices in order to continue to support our students. And for the health care professionals in the SIU system, who were constantly available for advice and guidance and continue to push through and sacrifice to care for others. 

Likewise, I am thankful for faculty and staff who found ways to use their expertise to contribute to the efforts to help combat COVID-19. And for our generous alumni and friends who stepped up to contribute in a variety of ways to help provide support for students who truly needed it.

Finally, I am thankful to our students, who overwhelmingly followed the guidelines we put in place and had to give up many of the activities they enjoy the most in order to ensure we made it through the semester. Our students exceeded the expectations for them from many outside of higher education and we should all be proud of them. 

I arrived at SIU less than two weeks before we went to remote learning last spring, so I have not yet experienced what normal is like on our campuses. I am certainly anxious to get to a point when I have an opportunity to have that experience. However, I believe the true character of organizations and their people are most clearly demonstrated not during normal times, but during challenging times. During the last eight months, I had the opportunity to observe the true character of the Southern Illinois University System and its campuses and I must say that I could not be more impressed. I feel very fortunate to be here. 

I hope you all have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and holiday break. And, please don’t forget to wear your masks, watch your distance, and wash your hands so we can see you back on campus in January.

All the best to you and your families.

Dan Mahony, President
Southern Illinois University System