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President Hanlon welcomes the Dartmouth community to the start of spring term with an acknowledgment of this most difficult pandemic year, some reasons for hope and optimism, and a call for continued cooperation as we travel this last mile.
To the Dartmouth community,
Over the past 12 months, we have been through so much as a country, as a campus and as a community. We've suffered a tremendous amount of human loss, experienced incredible economic fallout from the pandemic, and witnessed despicable acts of racial violence that have left us outraged, shocked and deeply distressed.
Here at Dartmouth, we've missed out on many of the face-to-face interactions that draw us together as a community. The tremendous sacrifices required to keep our community healthy have left many feeling isolated, stressed and alone. Worst of all, we are coping with the heartbreaking loss of Beau DuBray and Connor Tiffany, two cherished members of the Class of '24.
I recognize how difficult this year has been for so many in the Dartmouth family. As we begin spring term, we must all continue to look out for one another, and I encourage any of you who are struggling to seek help for yourselves or for others who may need it through any of the campus resources available to you. (Wellness resources for students can be found at https://students.dartmouth.edu/wellness-center, and those for faculty and staff can be found at https://www.dartmouth.edu/wellness.)
Thankfully, promise is in the air. The roll-out of vaccines is progressing rapidly, and we are eager to work with potential partners to help vaccinate as many of our community members as possible. With warmer weather on the horizon, we'll have more opportunities for safe, outdoor activities as we enjoy the beauty of the Upper Valley in spring. I especially look forward to the return of our Seniors to campus and to the special role they play as leaders and mentors in modeling a welcoming community. And I want nothing more than to celebrate Commencement with all of our graduates convened together. But, we mustn't let our guard down now.
We saw, last month, just how quickly an outbreak can occur on our campus when guidelines are not followed, and how much more restrictive we must be when it does. It is crucial that we remain vigilant on masking, distancing, testing and contact tracing throughout spring term, despite the fatigue that all of us are experiencing. Most importantly, we must continue to be empathetic and supportive of those around us.
Just over a year ago, at the start of the pandemic, I wrote to you and urged you all, as a united Dartmouth community, to rise to the challenge together with creativity, resilience, and compassion for one another, and you did. One year later, with the final months of this ordeal in sight, I ask that of you, once more.
Throughout our 250-year history, we've proven that Dartmouth's academic mission and traditions can withstand wars, recessions and depressions, and the disruptions of a global pandemic. Indeed, this year has served as a reminder that our bonds to each other and to the college are stronger than any obstacle we face.
We will be increasing our level of communications with you throughout spring term as the vaccine rollout progresses and case counts continue to be monitored, so that we are as clear as possible about the requirements and expectations we have of those in our community as they evolve.
We're all looking forward, with optimism, to getting back to the many aspects of campus life that make Dartmouth so special, and I know I can count on all of you for your continued cooperation as we travel this last mile.
Thank you, again, for your commitment to one another through these trying times. I wish you much success in the term ahead.
Philip J. Hanlon '77