April 27, 2020
Dear Parents and Family Members of Admitted Students,
In the age of COVID-19, it’s hard to think about sending your child to college, whether that college is around the corner or around the world. I write today to tell you about Hobart and William Smith, both from my perspective as the president of this outstanding institution and as a parent myself, and to let you know what we are doing to plan for the future.
I joined the Hobart and William Smith community a year ago, inspired by the promise of its bright future and by the values that it has held dear for nearly two centuries. This is a place that respects each individual student as a complex human being full of unique dreams and aspirations. The Hobart and William Smith curriculum is designed to draw out those dreams and aspirations – to make them evident and tangible, and then to match your student to faculty members who are experts in those fields and who, perhaps more importantly, are profoundly gifted mentors. We then work with each student to expand their thinking, to engage them in global, interdisciplinary thinking and experiential learning, to teach them to adapt to and even create change, and to help them achieve their career goals.
We chose your child for admittance to Hobart and William Smith from a competitive cohort of applicants because we see something in them that we believe will thrive here – a potential that we know we can help them realize.
At Hobart and William Smith, we say that we prepare students to lead lives of consequence. That to me is the absolute definition of what higher education, done correctly, can achieve. A life of consequence, in my opinion, is a life of fulfillment. As a parent, there can be no greater desire than to see our children happy and thriving as engaged members of their communities, with the skills necessary to evolve to meet the challenges they will inevitably face in life.
Here on campus, we have been adapting to the complications this pandemic has created, and moved to a remote learning model in mid-March. Although I have been impressed with the ingenuity and flexibility of our faculty and the resourcefulness of our students to embrace new modes of learning and collaboration, there is no substitute for the long-term benefits of in-person instruction. We therefore have every intention of opening in the fall and welcoming you and your child to campus for Orientation. That intention, however, does not mean we are putting our collective head in the sand. Instead, we have a number of task forces working now on contingency planning, taking into account a myriad of scenarios we may face. Over the coming weeks, we will continue to consult with health care experts and authorities, and will announce any changes to our plans when we have reached the right balance between gaining more information and certainty through waiting, and your need to know for planning purposes.
My hope is that you and your loved ones stay safe and well during these challenging times. We will come out of the other side of this ordeal stronger for what we have learned about dealing with challenges, both personal and societal. As always, do not hesitate to contact me on any matter. I respond to all messages personally and can be reached at email@example.com.
Joyce P. Jacobsen