A Personal Message from President LeBlanc

March 23, 2020

To the George Washington University Community:

The momentous time we find ourselves in has called for all of us to find strength and resilience. The crisis caused by COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our campus life. The response from our community has been inspiring. Working together, we have done our best to keep our GW family safe, healthy and informed. We are living our values of collaboration, courage and openness every day. I want to thank all of you for your patience and kindness to one another, and I also want to recognize just how difficult this situation has been, especially for our students.

The interruptions to our students’ daily lives and the uncertainty the pandemic has caused have been unprecedented. I want each of you to know I understand and share your concerns and disappointment. The end of the academic year is not as you or any of us expected. I am truly sorry that our students are missing in-person classes, art exhibitions, sporting events, concerts and of course Commencement.

I want to assure our graduating class of 2020 that we will celebrate you and your class. You have worked too hard to get to this moment not to be celebrated. Many of you took time to write to the Commencement email address, and the overwhelming majority asked to be invited back to graduate on the Mall when feasible. I could not agree more that you deserve this opportunity. We will invite the class of 2020 to join us at our bicentennial Commencement on the National Mall in May 2021. It will be a while before we know specifics, but we will keep you informed and seek your suggestions on making this ceremony as special as we can for your class.

We are also working now to find a virtual way to celebrate together on May 17, 2020, to officially award your degree and welcome you into our worldwide network of alumni who share your passion for changing the world and whose leadership is making a difference during difficult times like these. You will hear more about this in the coming weeks. If you have suggestions for us, please email [email protected]. I want to hear from you. 

In closing, I want to once again recognize all those who are working day and night to protect the health and the safety of our community. Every day, I speak to GW faculty and staff who are focused on the well-being of our students. As difficult as postponing important milestones has been, we have taken these actions to protect our students, faculty and staff, and to support the greater good. I remain proud, and feel so fortunate, to be part of this incredible community with you.

Raise High,

Thomas LeBlanc