May 12, 2021 - Gratitude as we conclude the spring semester

Dear Colleagues,

As we work diligently to wrap up a semester, indeed an academic year unlike any other, I want to extend again my heartfelt gratitude, respect and – most of all – encouragement for all you continue to do each and every day for our students, community and each other. Sometimes the so-called “home stretch” can be the most daunting and exhausting part of a journey, I know. We often tell ourselves, “If I can just get through this week or next…” And, under the current circumstances, I’m quite certain many of us have uttered that phrase more than once of late. Please know you’re not alone in the thought or the feeling. Please know that you are seen and appreciated beyond measure.

As I write this, I’m very aware that, even as this semester ends, we don’t get to automatically return to the way things used to be, and that thought can be daunting and disheartening. I want to acknowledge that. But as we work together to return to a new normal this coming August, I hope we can continue to rally together, face change as a community and take to heart that better days are ahead as we build a university that is stronger than ever before.

I know that everyone’s summer looks different from here. Perhaps some faculty will be away, while others will continue teaching. Perhaps some staff are looking forward to a well-deserved vacation, while others will be working onward without a break to help us all prepare for fall. Whatever your individual circumstances, I hope you can take a moment separately and together to acknowledge the entirety of the hard work and sacrifice you’ve faced this year, and to feel immense pride in the fact that you’ve faced it all with such grit and grace. I hope you find the time or space to take care of yourself too. You’ve more than earned it.

Finally, although we are not yet fully removed from the effects of the pandemic, our region is advancing each and every day as vaccines are now readily available, and our region continues to modify and lower restrictions based on CDC guidance. However, please remember that across the globe – especially in India where a national crisis persists – there are countless families, friends and loved ones whose lives continue to be challenged and changed forever by the pandemic. I encourage each of you to seek out vaccination opportunities so that we can collectively keep our communities safe.

As for me personally, I can honestly say that I have never been prouder to call this university home or each of you my colleagues in its ongoing mission. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for all that you have done and continue to do.

Gratefully forward,

Kristin Sobolik
University of Missouri–St. Louis