Letter from the Dean
Coming up for Air: Spring 2021
I apologize for being so late in getting my spring letter out. Spring 2021 was a very unusual semester. For starters, we had no spring break. Then, because COVID seemed to be abating, we had a flurry of planning activities in preparation for our first in-person graduations since before the pandemic. Plans A, B and C were prepared for the event. Plan A was for an in-person, outside, good weather commencement. Plan B was for foul weather, inside. Plan C was in case COVID flared up again. As it turned out, all ceremonies were conducted under Plan A. All-in-all, the University had eight in-person commencement ceremonies at the football stadium. Seven of these were for Spring 2021 graduates. The eighth was for 2020 graduates who had missed out on their graduation last year because of COVID. Despite very threatening weather, God held it back, and we all rejoiced and celebrate those wonderful events! Such joy!
The College’s own graduation ceremony was held May 8th at 3:00. I wept as our students made their way to the platform. What a time we’ve all been through! We all felt like we were coming up for air from the depths of the sea. At our event, Harry Crisp II and Pam Pfeffer both SIU alumni, received honorary Doctorates. Harry’s prepared remarks were great. However, shortly before the event began, Pam Pfeffer confided in me that she didn’t know she was supposed to speak. So, when her time came, she approached the microphone without notes. But WOW! She was magnificent! Her fresh and encouraging words, couldn’t have come at a better time for our graduates: “…Find something you’re passionate about doing, and enjoy doing it for a lifetime.”
In spite of all the difficulties the University and College have wrestled with in recent years, things are looking up! Last Fall, our incoming freshman class was up 37.5% over Fall 2019! Today, 10-weeks out from Fall 2021, the University is up in incoming freshman about 15% over Fall 2020’s very great numbers. Enrollment can only be built one freshman class at a time, and we are doing it!
The College continues to do a bit better than the University. We are up in admitted students by 21% over this time last year. We are indeed coming up for air!
We deeply appreciate your loyalty, support and encouragement.