Welcome to a new academic year! – Albright College

Welcome to a new academic year!

Dear Fellow Albrightians,

Welcome to the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year! I hope the first few days of classes have gone well for you. It’s great to see so many back on campus!

Whether you are a new student, a returning student, an adult student in our School of Professional Studies, or a faculty or staff member, we have all been through some very difficult months as we have made our way through the ebbs and flows of the COVID-19 pandemic. I always look forward to the start of a new year and the opportunity to see our campus come alive again, and though my office will remain at home for now, it was a delight to run into several POP groups last week as I walked my dogs.

For the new Albright community members, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in April, and following surgery that month, I began chemotherapy, which continues through September — I’m more than half done! You can hear more about my diagnosis and prognosis here, if you’d like.  I am tolerating chemo very well and am able to work my normal, more-than-full-time hours, but it’s best for me to continue to conduct business virtually as I complete my chemo treatments. However, seeing the campus come alive again is simply joyous! You can expect to see me walking around campus on occasion with my mask on.

Reflecting on the last several months, I would like to recognize the Pandemic Task Force, emergency essential employees, members of Cabinet and the College Leadership Team – a group of leaders comprised of all staff and faculty members who report directly to a member of Cabinet – and so many other Albrightians, who have worked hard during these challenging months. Together, we have developed a path forward that prioritizes the health of our community, maintains flexibility, and delivers an exceptional, engaging and valuable education for all of our students, whether on-campus or online.

I am deeply grateful to the many resilient Albright staff, faculty, and students who have worked to help the college to be ready for the opening of the semester, and to those who have developed options that meet Centers for Disease Control and PA Dept. of Health guidelines as well as the needs of our Albright community. All of this has been accomplished despite the numerous and often daily challenges the pandemic and our various governments and organizations have thrown at us. My deepest appreciation to each of you — this is what makes our Albright community so strong!

I also celebrate new student move-in and Welcome Weekend – wow, just wow! Though it looked a bit different this year, the energy of our POPs and RAs was palpable. And I know planning for this year’s move-in and orientation events was not easy given the protocols that had to be put in place. It took our whole community coming together over the last few months to make it a success. Thank you to all who worked tirelessly this summer to welcome our newest Albrightians into our pride of Lions!

It was also wonderful to see the commitment of our community to Albright’s Community Care Compact, and to the college’s core values of resilience and integrity. Taking care of our own well-being and respecting the well-being of all members of the campus community through the wearing of masks, social distancing, washing and sanitizing of hands and surfaces, conducting meetings online, and monitoring one’s health each day are the ways in which we will get through this challenging time. I thank each of you for your personal commitment to a healthy and safe Albright College!

One of the recurring themes that I have seen very clearly throughout the last few months at Albright College is our community’s ability to come together during a crisis, and I shouldn’t be surprised. Why? Because this is Albright College – where we come together to learn, to work, to teach, to laugh, to play, to succeed, and indeed, to overcome obstacles and challenges. It’s where it’s always great to be a Lion and where we have much to celebrate!

Good luck to each of you for a productive and successful first session of the fall semester!

Go Lions!

Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ’82
President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Albright College