February 11, 2021 - A message from Chancellor Sobolik to UMSL faculty and staff

Dear University Community,

As the cold whips through our campus and community, as we pull our scarves and coats a little tighter, it occurs to me that mid-February is a tough time of year spirit-wise, even in normal times.

Winter trudges on, spring is not quite here, and the sky can feel endlessly gray. Add these typical struggles to the tremendous extra weight we carry in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic, and "too heavy” suddenly becomes quite an understatement. I write to you today to acknowledge this burden and to offer my heartfelt solidarity, encouragement and thanks.

There is no sugarcoating the enormous obstacles we’ve faced over the past year. For all of us, the pandemic has been difficult. For some of us, it has been downright devastating. And yet still, it’s not over. I know.

What I need you to know – and truly hear and take to heart – is that the resilience I continue to see daily from our entire UMSL community is nothing short of miraculous. In fact, every time I try anew to express the respect and admiration I feel for the work we do together and the dedication I see constantly on display, it feels truer and more inspiring than ever before. I could not be more sincere when I say each of you should feel very proud of your part in shielding and shepherding our university forward during this historical time – all while also taking care of yourselves and your loved ones. This is a remarkable feat.

While the truth is that no individual or institution will come out of this pandemic unscathed, I truly believe that, together, we have positioned our university well not only to weather the storm but to thrive into the future. Add to this that we’ve taken care of each other to the very best of our ability along the way, and I feel grateful in more ways than I can count for all we’ve accomplished thus far.

Please know, as daunting as moving forward can be when we haven’t yet reached the finish, I do believe the end is in sight. I do believe, thanks to the increasing availability of vaccines and the ongoing work of our scientists, healthcare workers and many other everyday people whose resilience continues to shine, that there is a light on the horizon. It may be faint, I grant you; it may be approaching much slower than we’d like, but it is there. And I know that we can and we will keep going and reach it together.

So, please – despite the cold and gray in sky or spirit – take heart. Stay with me. Know that you and your contributions are seen, appreciated and valued beyond measure. And remember that even these most difficult of times will pass, just as history teaches us they always have.

We will emerge better, stronger and still standing as #TritonsTogether. I believe this with all my heart. And I thank you.

Gratefully forward,


Kristin Sobolik
University of Missouri–St. Louis