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April 27, 2020
Dear Pitzer Community,
As we settle into the new reality of Pitzer’s spring semester, I write to share with you some information about our current thinking for the fall semester and the excellent work that is being carried on in the virtual environment by our faculty and staff.
Pitzer remains committed to its distinctive in-person educational curriculum and residential experience. As we have said previously, our goal is to resume Pitzer’s in-person classes on campus as soon as it is safe to do so. The timing and circumstances of our return remain uncertain. Still, in the interim, we are adapting to the emergency circumstances to keep our community together, engaged and focused productively on ever better ways to fight the effects of the virus, maintain our educational momentum and strengthen our remarkable college community.
We are modeling multiple approaches to achieving this goal based on the best available information from government and public health officials. While the timing of our return to a face-to-face environment will depend on the state of the pandemic, it is becoming clear that testing and social distancing could be necessary for some time. We continue to explore what life at Pitzer may look like in different scenarios and we anticipate updated guidance from experts in the field. I know that this uncertainty is frustrating for all of us, but Pitzer’s priority is the health and safety of our students. We will continue to update you and seek your input on fall semester plans.
One promising sign of Pitzer’s vibrant online presence was showcased recently during Admitted Student Day. The Office of Admission transformed its popular and informative in-person campus encounter into an engaging and memorable virtual experience enjoyed by 242 students and 185 family members. Student panelists, faculty and staff demonstrated Pitzer care and compassion in their hosting of newly admitted students. They answered questions, shared personal insights and offered authentic advice on subjects including Orientation Adventure, access to professors, Pitzer social life, academic rigor, career prospects, planning for graduate school and more. Visitors to Pitzer online during the five and half hour event came from as far as Paraguay, Vietnam and Nepal. I am looking forward with optimism about the quality of these admitted students and eagerly anticipate them joining the Pitzer community in the Fall.
For our worldwide community of Pitzer College Alumni, the Office of Advancement has launched an information-rich online presence titled: Pitzer@Home. Stop by to see what is happening at Pitzer online – there are community events, career services events, exercise classes and much, much more.
You will also be interested to know that many students and their families elected to gift back approximately $150,000 of their pro-rated room and board reimbursements to the College’s Covid-19 Relief Fund. These compassionate acts are shining examples of the vision, spirit and generosity that defines our Pitzer community.
I hope you have been able to participate in one of our virtual Town Hall briefings and question and answer sessions with Pitzer faculty, staff, student and parent groups. Senior leadership panelists have shared the latest facts about the College’s thinking and approach to the COVID-19 emergency. We have discussed the community’s questions and continue to consider what COVID means to our community and our future.
I am more proud of our community than ever. Pitzer never rests in its exploration of innovative ways to build connections and engagement with each other while ensuring that students meet their learning objectives. I am confident that you will embrace the opportunities for growth and togetherness online that the virtual classroom and the online campus provide.
I wish you all the best and look forward to meeting and overcoming this great challenge with you.
Melvin L. Oliver
Stay Safe, Stay Home. Stay Healthy