First Week of Class

Emory University clock tower

Dear Emory Community,

For many at Emory, classes start this week. With a temporary move to remote learning for undergraduate students until January 31 because of the Omicron surge in COVID-19 cases, I know this is not the beginning that any of us wanted or imagined. Our campuses are open, but our collective experience will be altered during this time. This pandemic has relentlessly challenged us to adapt and here we are in 2022, adapting once again. Why?

We adapt because our students are in the midst of degree programs that will position them to change the world and become leaders. Because communities and organizations here at home and across the nation rely on our research, expertise, and inspiration. Because everything we do at Emory is bold and ambitious, grounded by a heartfelt commitment to serving others. We adapt because no matter what is going on in the world, we must carry on with our mission to serve.

Throughout the pandemic, a lot has been asked of you. And you’ve answered the call with courage and optimism. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all you’ve committed to help us get this far. We will emerge on the other side of the surge in three weeks with in-person learning and campus activities in full swing—I am confident of that.

As classes begin, I encourage you to focus on your passions and academic pursuits—the reading that motivates you; the research that inspires you; the creative expression that ignites your soul; the activities in your community that enrich your education and lives. And if, in certain moments, it feels overwhelming—take time for yourself. Connect with friends, mentors, and family. And utilize the resources at Emory that are focused on mental health and wellness for students as well as faculty and staff.

Our strength as a university comes from our ability to pull together during challenging times and move forward as one. We have done this throughout our history, especially during the past two years, and will do so again in 2022. I know this because I know you—I’ve seen what you’re capable of and I expect this to be an outstanding semester.


Gregory L. Fenves

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