Since the start of 2020, our province and this university have faced many challenges and tragedies. We have experienced many events that have compounded our grief while at the same time living with and managing within the current pandemic.
This year has shown what we are made of – the values and character of Saint Mary’s and Santamarians are on display. From the loss of two graduate students in the Ukrainian Airlines crash in January, to the tragedies that have affected Nova Scotians and many others in recent months, our university community has been called on to be compassionate and to demonstrate leadership. Even amid the current pandemic, we see acts of kindness spreading, and our resolve is strengthening. Challenges confront us at every turn, but we continue to stand together.
The events of the first half of 2020 will create more challenges for our university in the coming year. We will undoubtedly face revenue shortfalls, public health orders, and international travel restrictions in the fall. Even if governments loosen public health orders and travel restrictions, we don’t know how students will respond. I know our alumni are stepping up to help our university, our students, and our community. Your ongoing generosity is a constant source of pride for the entire Saint Mary’s family.
Our alumni, faculty, staff and students have helped gather protective equipment, provided meals to Nova Scotia’s essential workers, and stepped up to coach businesses through these trying times. No one knows what the fall holds, and whether we will face a second wave, but we do know that this pandemic will produce lasting social and economic change. And I am convinced that the spirit that carried us through the first part of 2020 is the spirit that will guide us as we face new challenges ahead.
People describe our current situation as ‘unprecedented,’ but universities have come through these sorts of times before. The successful universities have done so by embracing transformation and harnessing the dynamics of extraordinary circumstances. A focus on change and the long-term is what you can expect from Saint Mary’s.
As we respond to this pandemic, we will focus on being agile, lean, and entrepreneurial. We will build on our strengths, continually improve, and show public leadership.
Our society needs leaders now more than ever before. We are focused on building a more resilient Saint Mary’s. Still, that goal is inseparable from creating a more resilient economy and society.
We will make this happen together. We are in this together.