IUP Family:

I hope that you and your loved ones are well.

I continue to be extremely proud of how the IUP family is taking care of one another, and I appreciate the opportunity to continue to share updates on our on-going responses to the pandemic.

  • Thousands of alumni are providing hands-on care and support to those affected by the coronavirus and their families—in medical facilities, in laboratories, in social service agencies, in businesses large and small, and in virtual classrooms for students of all ages. Watch for stories coming soon on IUP's social media channels.

  • In fewer than three weeks, our generous IUP family has given almost $160,000 to the Emergency Response Fund. Donors include current students and the IUP Alumni Association Board of Directors.

  • Following a great deal of cross-divisional work and collaboration, student refunds are being distributed this week, as scheduled and as promised.

  • Housing and dining services continue for international students who cannot yet return home and for students in situations that require them to remain on campus.

  • Decisions have been made about pass-fail grading, withdrawal deadlines, and other academics policies (as I communicated to you earlier).

  • In the last two weeks, the CARE team of faculty and staff has reached out to almost 400 students in need of support. This is in addition to students served by ongoing telecounseling efforts.

  • IUP's Six O'Clock Series continued virtually on Monday night. The series is one of many programs being used to maintain connections between members of the IUP family.

  • Keeping true to our commitment to shared governance, university committees and groups continue to meet and move important university business forward through technology; more than 140 members of the university community “attended” the University Senate meeting Tuesday evening via Zoom.

  • Our Office of Human Resources continues to provide updated information about leave options and is actively answering questions and concerns from employees during this uncertain time.

  • More than 1,500 graduating students and their families responded to our survey about fall on-campus commencement opportunities. We will provide information on our next steps after we review the data and finalize decisions.

Understanding that we are all feeling the stress of this uncertain time, I'd like to pass on some expertise shared with me by Dr. Krys Kaniasty, an international expert on responding to mass tragedies and one of our Distinguished University Professors:

“Know that worry and concern is normal. We are all trying to have normal reactions in an abnormal time. But, if we've learned anything from thousands of years of history, it is that humans are resilient, and will adapt to trying circumstances.

“All of us know the experience of driving in a car. Initially we are apprehensive, and even feel it is dangerous, but we manage. We know the rules: what a green or red light means. We know to keep a distance, how to alert others with blinkers or the horn, and we wear seatbelts.

“Right now we have been driving in a very dense fog. We are only able to see 12 feet ahead, yet we trust that we will get to our destination. Use your worries to motivate you to protect yourself and others. Heroes don't need muscles and capes. Heroes can change lives with even small behaviors. Heroes are people who know they are doing the right thing, and by example, lead others to do the right thing. For most of us right now, heroes stay home and stay connected in safe ways to one another and to those that need help. And, they wash their hands!”

Tomorrow, you will learn of another opportunity to be a hero by participation in the university's Day of Caring. I encourage you to give thoughtful consideration to that message and how you can help members of the IUP family in need of support.

In closing, I encourage you to follow Dr. Kaniasty's advice, and I want to remind you of mine: stay the course, study hard, continue to work together, and treat each other well. Please reach out for help when you need it.

Michael A. Driscoll