Update from President Kurt Dykstra, March 20, 2020

Dear Trinity Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Good Friday afternoon.

As we end our first week apart and prepare for the new, on-line weeks to come, I write you to share some news that I regret having to share, though it is news that I suspect will not come as a surprise to you given all that has happened around the world in recent weeks.

In light of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, the College leadership has made the difficult decision to postpone our May 2, 2020, Commencement celebration, as well as all other Commencement related events.

Commencement is the culminating event in the life of the College.  More importantly, it is an important moment for graduates, as well as their families and friends, and one that recognizes hard work, success, and achievement.

This is the latest in a series of recent announcements that you have received from me conveying lousy news.  This announcement is especially disappointing for our graduating students.  However, given the public health situation around the country (and the world), the fact that the State of Illinois has recommended the postponement of large gatherings anywhere in the state until at least May 1, the fact that we (including faculty and staff) are no longer gathered together on campus, and the fact that society collectively needs to defeat this virus in order to return to normal, we have made this hard and unfortunate decision.

Some colleges and universities already have postponed (or outright canceled) their commencements; more are sure to do so in the coming weeks.  We made the decision now, in part, so that you, your families, and your friends can plan accordingly and, in part, because we do not think that it is even realistic to believe that such a gathering could take place in six weeks.

What will replace the May 2 Commencement ceremony and when will it take place?  In time, we will know more and will communicate those future plans accordingly.  However, know that Trinity is committed to finding a way to celebrate our graduates’ achievements at a future date; our graduates have earned their degrees and they deserve our plaudits!

Also, please understand that postponing a ceremony does not equal postponing the conferral of a degree!  All students who have completed the requirements of their programs in May will have their degrees conferred as previously scheduled.  “Only” (and it is a big “Only,” I recognize) the ceremony will be postponed.  The Registrar’s Office will continue as your point of contact as you complete your requirements and have your degree conferred.

Students, please forward this information to your family members – who also can sign-up for direct parent communication from Trinity by registering here.  Please also continue to check your email and visit trnty.edu/covid19 for regularly updated information.

This is hard news to share – and surely hard news to hear.  Even so, let us keep strong, keep the faith, and remain a Romans 12:12 people!

Next week is another week – and an important one for all of us at Trinity.  Much learning will occur.  Great relationships will continue.  The mode of educational delivery will be different, but we are still the same, united campus community.

The faculty have been busily preparing for a re-launch on Monday; students, I trust that you are ready, too.  Scratch that – I know that you are ready, too!  There surely will be bumps along the way.  But with grace and grit, we successfully will finish this historic semester together!

Let us be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.

Kurt D. Dykstra, President

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