Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
As we approach the end of our fall academic term, I hope this finds you well. The past few months have been an extraordinary time for Seattle University. Returning to live, in-person instruction has truly been a blessing. And this could not have been possible without the care and commitment of our entire campus community. The measures you have taken to keep yourself and others healthy and safe have kept our infection rate extremely low.
Our plan continues to be to resume in-person instruction when we return to campus in January, much as we did this fall. And, as with this quarter, the same practices we have implemented and followed thus far—vaccination and boosters, masking indoors and testing—will continue to be crucial.
As we have done throughout the pandemic, we continue to closely monitor developments and adapt when necessary. Much remains to be learned about the recently emerging Omicron variant. Fortunately, as a result of our decision to transition to online instruction after Thanksgiving, we have time to learn more before we return in January. We will respond to new information with creativity, flexibility and care, as we have throughout the pandemic.
Our Shared Future
Even as we reengage with the familiar faces, places and rhythms of campus life, we are raising our sights to new possibilities and, consistent with our Jesuit and Catholic mission, rising to meet the greatest challenges of our times. As I shared with faculty and staff last week, Seattle University’s Board of Trustees has approved Reigniting Our Strategic Directions: A Jesuit University of Distinction for a Time of Change, 2022-2027.
This update to the original Strategic Directions, approved by the board in 2019, was developed with the voice and contributions of the entire university. The revised plan retains the goals and aspirations of the community while acknowledging the good work already completed and accounting for what has changed since 2019, including the unprecedented disruption presented by COVID and the appointment of the first lay president in the university’s history. What hasn’t changed is our stated vision to be one of the most innovative and progressive Jesuit and Catholic universities in the world, educating with excellence at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels.
I invite you to learn more about the updated plan at our newly relaunched Reigniting Our Strategic Directions website. This site includes a link to a secured website for faculty, staff and students to explore the goals, key initiatives and working groups.
Save the date: We will gather from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 25, 2022, in Pigott Auditorium to launch the process of implementation for Reigniting Our Strategic Directions. We invite the entire Seattle University community to join together in celebration of Seattle University's future.
Gratitude and Best Wishes
Along with deep appreciation for what has been a rewarding and memorable start to our academic year, know that you have my very best wishes in the days and weeks ahead. My hope is that in the midst of this frenetic sprint to the end of the fall term, you find peace and joy, and as the university closes for Christmas break, may your holidays and time away be filled with rest, rejuvenation and the good company of family and loved ones.
Eduardo M. Peñalver