Reflecting on the Past Year

March 12, 2021


To the George Washington University Community:

It is hard to believe that at this time last year we were preparing to shift, within a matter of days, to virtual teaching, learning, and working.  While we all hoped our home offices and classrooms would be temporary, we now find ourselves a full year since the pandemic dramatically altered our university community, and communities around the world.

As I reflect on the toll of the pandemic, I am thinking most about the loss of life and the grief so many have endured.  I also am thinking about the loss of many of the in-person ways our community traditionally connected.  However, in the face of formidable challenges, I have been truly inspired by seeing how members of our GW community have responded.

Our frontline health care providers, public health and safety experts, and essential on-campus employees have worked tirelessly to care for us and keep us safe.  Our faculty and staff transitioned at a moment’s notice to virtual teaching and working, and they have ensured we continue to fulfill our academic mission.  And our students have shown incredible resilience in adapting to new ways of learning, supporting one another, and building community online.

I recognize there are still challenges ahead.  But we have many reasons to be optimistic, and each day we see more light at the end of the tunnel.  As we move forward together, we will be able to take more positive steps, and we will share these updates in the coming weeks.

We should mark this one-year anniversary not only by memorializing loss and challenge—but also by celebrating the ways every member of our community has supported one another and contributed to the efforts that will, in time, end the pandemic.

Thank you for everything you do in service of our GW community.

With appreciation,

Thomas J. LeBlanc