Dear students,

Almost there!

There have been many twists and turns in the road to the fall semester, and many of you have been forced to change plans very quickly. I want to thank you for your patience and understanding, and for all that you have already done to keep yourself and each other safe by wearing masks, social distancing, and staying away from large gatherings. Keep up the good work.

We've worked hard this spring and summer to be ready for fall, focusing at all times on creating an environment that is safe and healthy, and where your success comes first. While the pandemic has created challenging circumstances, and things are certainly different than how we've done business in the past, I want to encourage you to be excited about a new semester. Reinvent yourself, if that is your goal. Push yourself outside what you know and have always done. Take advantage of new opportunities.

You are never alone at IUP. We've created the Hawks Q&A Center to help you when you have questions. It offers all types of resources and a chat feature. The staff is prepared to make sure you have all the information and help you need. If they can't help you, they'll refer you, and they'll keep a connection open with you until your questions are answered.

New first-year students, please don't hesitate to use your Guide. Dozens of faculty and staff members have volunteered for this new program, which is to help first-year students navigate their educational experience. They're also prepared to connect you with resources or, as the name suggests, guide you and encourage you. If you are an upper-class student and would like to have a guide, contact the Office of Student Support and Community Standards. They'll work with you.

We know that everyone has been affected in some way by the pandemic. While we can't make up for the losses you've experienced or the disappointments and inconveniences you continue to face, we want to help.

We have made the decision to invest $3 million in you. We will provide every student with $300. This is for every enrolled student: part-time or full-time, undergraduate or graduate, on-campus or studying remotely, in a credit-bearing or in a professional program. You'll see these funds in your student account toward the end of September. We know it's not a fortune, but we want it to help you to continue to focus and move forward to meet your educational goals.

We're making this investment because we know you are worth it. We believe in you, and we're here for you. Crimson Hawks stick together.

I wish you the very best this academic year.

Michael A. Driscoll