This date, March 18, marks the one-year anniversary of all Suffolk University classes moving online for the spring 2020 semester. Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of nearly all university employees being sent home to work remotely. It has been quite a year.

The pandemic has caused untold suffering and taken an enormous human toll. Uncertainty and change have been constants. We have experienced personal losses and been unable to engage in certain activities that were once routine, like having conversations in the elevator or sitting down with friends to share a meal or even just a cup of coffee. We have become accustomed to nasal swabs and hand sanitizer.

But as a university community, we adapted and continued to do what we do so well. Teaching and learning carried on virtually and in our classrooms, as well as outside of them. Internships, clinical programs, mentoring, counseling, social activities—all core to the Suffolk experience—have continued, often with impressive innovation. You, our students, faculty, and staff, have shown your resilience, creativity, and dedication. Even as we have struggled in some ways, we have learned a great deal about what we can do when we work together to adapt to challenging circumstances. Our principles have guided us, and in the face of challenge we have succeeded as a community and as individuals.

As we move into the second half of the spring 2021 semester, one year after this all began, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We are hopeful that vaccine distribution will continue to grow, protecting all of us and our families and friends, as well as the broader community as a whole. We are eager to gather together again and excited about returning next fall to a vibrant downtown campus, even as we continue to build on our capacity to incorporate virtual operations when it makes sense to do so.

The future is bright, and we should embrace our excitement. But on the one-year anniversary of our launch into remote learning and virtual operations, let us also take a moment to reflect on the losses we have experienced the last twelve months. Some losses are permanent. At noon today, I will observe a moment of silence. Wherever you are, I hope you will also take this time to pause and reflect on all that has happened this past year.


Marisa J. Kelly