April 10, 2020 - A Message to the UMSL Community

Dear University Community,

Under ordinary circumstances, I would begin this message with sincere words about how honored, privileged and grateful I am to accept the role as your eighth chancellor and continue as the university’s leader. While I do feel these things, I am of course more immediately struck by the fact that these are not ordinary times at all. Celebration and pomp and circumstance hardly seem appropriate as we collectively and individually face the challenges, grief and hardship brought on by COVID-19, its impact on our lives and its implications for the future we share.

Given all of this, I want my first message as your chancellor to assure you that my mind and heart remain steadfastly focused on the magnitude and gravity of this particular moment in time. It is a moment none of us would have asked for. It is certainly not at all what I pictured as I sought the chancellorship. Yet here we are. Together.

When I first became interim chancellor, I made a commitment to provide truth and transparency about any issues or concerns that may come our way under my leadership. I couldn’t have known then what was coming, but I remain just as dedicated to that commitment today. That’s why I want to share with you what I see as the guiding force for my role — indeed all of our roles — in the coming weeks and months ahead. 

I will be resolutely devoted to serving as UMSL’s steward and safe keeper, doing everything necessary to preserve our institution so that the vision, mission and legacy established over the last 57 years can continue on for many generations to come.

This is not just a mission that means a great deal to each of us personally. We have promised our region, our state, nation and world that UMSL will provide quality, affordable excellence in education, impactful research and community service for all those who seek it. My vow to you today is that I will do everything in my power to make sure we uphold this promise.

Let me also be clear when talking about the future that I sincerely wish I could shield each of you from any further difficulty this crisis may make necessary in the weeks ahead — or that I could detail any potentially unwelcome changes for you right now as I write. The truth is I can’t. This is an unprecedented, extraordinary event we are living through in real time, and its full effect can’t yet be known by anyone.

What I do know for sure is that while this may be no ordinary moment, the University of Missouri–St. Louis is no ordinary institution. We will shepherd UMSL into the future precisely because future generations deserve to experience the uniquely transformative opportunities we have built here together.

Gratefully forward,

Kristin Sobolik
Chancellor, University of Missouri–St. Louis