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From the President - Fall 2020

Mass communications students wear masks as they run cameras during a Channel 23 broadcast in the OCU studio. Photo by Josh Robinson

Greetings Alumni & Friends,

For OCU, 2020 has been like no other year in our history. As I write this, we are just a few weeks away from the close of the fall semester. In the midst of a pandemic, I am thankful we have been able to successfully teach in-person classes and operate the university in a way that carries out our mission.

We went into this semester with a lot of questions. Frankly, sometimes we had more questions than answers. But, with a relentless desire to do things right, an attitude of grace, and a spirit of adaptability, we have succeeded.

We have unfortunately seen a few positive cases, as we are not free from the challenges that all institutions of higher education are facing. But, together we have shown that we can work in the most difficult situations. I am proud of how our students have responded. I know this year is a departure from the norm, and they have handled it brilliantly. They have shown their flexibility by demonstrating innovation and resiliency. And, more than anything, they are committed to their education, to their community, and to their own health as well as the well-being of others.

You will read in the pages of this issue many examples of how our students and faculty are navigating the challenges of the semester. We hold live virtual chapel on Thursdays, our dance students use high-tech Zoom Carts in class, and our chemistry students participate in guided-inquiry activities in a unique online setting inside the classroom. While most of our courses have adapted to a safe in-person environment, we also understand the need for virtual learning experiences. More than 15% of our courses are online this semester.

Many of our student organizations have seen increased participation while moving to an almost entirely virtual platform for conducting meetings, sharing philanthropic causes, and building community among their members. Our students are diligent about following safety protocols and socially distancing. They even developed their own social media campaigns geared toward their peers to encourage wearing masks.

No doubt, the virus has changed how we operate, but it has not changed our dedication to creating a world-class learning environment.

We know this pandemic is not over. But, no matter the condition of the virus, I know the condition of our spirit. Our university stands strong. We are resolute. We will continue to face this challenge in a way that reflects the proud tradition of OCU. While it would be easy to remember 2020 for its hardships, I will instead choose to carry the memories of how our university persevered despite the odds.

—Martha A. Burger

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