September 1, 2020

Dear UD Community,

I always look forward to this moment, welcoming Blue Hens old and new to the dawn of a new academic year at the University of Delaware. I am excited for the year of discovery and achievement at UD that lies ahead for each of you. I especially want to extend a warm welcome to those who are new to our community, including our nearly 3,800 first-year undergraduates, 450 transfer students, 450 Associate in Arts students, 1,300 new graduate students and 86 new faculty members. So, to all of our Blue Hens … we are thrilled to have you here, even if remotely for the fall semester!

This year, of course, is unlike any other with its challenges for all of us to endure, adapt and persevere in ways that we never could have imagined. In the face of extraordinary public health and socio-economic challenges, we as a community need to rise above, seizing new opportunities to be both creative and productive as we reinvent tomorrow with renewed Blue Hen spirit. Not surprisingly, the University of Delaware community has stepped up to that challenge. Now, on September 1st, we remain connected by a strong commitment to academic excellence and creativity, a relentless pursuit of knowledge and innovation, and a unified drive for positive and lasting impact on the world.

I am truly inspired by the resilience, flexibility and commitment to each other that so many of you have shown while navigating unprecedented circumstances over the past several months. All of us at UD have strived to maintain an unwavering focus on the health and safety of UD students, faculty, staff, visitors and neighbors. Indeed, UD is a special place with a community that is united by shared values. At its core, this means that respect for one another — valuing diversity of thought, identity and belief, along with a commitment to inclusion on all levels — remains paramount as we shape the future together.

During this unusual time, we are significantly changing how we learn, teach and do our work as we all strive to protect ourselves and each other from the coronavirus. Many of us are not physically on campus this fall, while those who are must alter their daily choices and behaviors. Following these measures — including pre-arrival testing, daily health screenings, ongoing COVID-19 testing and participation in the state of Delaware’s contact tracing program — is the socially responsible thing to do. It is incumbent upon all of us to Protect the Flock and recognize our shared responsibility as Blue Hens to take the necessary steps to realize a healthy return to campus as soon as possible.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all the members of our faculty and staff who are working diligently on this front. Throughout the summer, faculty have adapted their courses for remote learning and have developed creative new ways of teaching and continuing their research and scholarship. I am especially grateful for the outstanding staff working in UD’s healthcare, student life, police and public safety, facilities, technology, communications and many other units, who have put in long days and nights to keep the University operating efficiently and effectively. This fall semester would simply not be possible without the extraordinary efforts of all these amazing people who work so hard to support all of us, every day.

For our new and returning students, I want to assure you that we are committed to doing everything possible to provide the unique experience that brought you to UD — different, yes, but still robust and intellectually stimulating. As always, we still need you to bring your curiosity, creativity and passion to your studies and activities, whether you are on or off campus this semester. Getting involved with some of our more than 400 Registered Student Organizations and connecting with your fellow Blue Hens is more important than ever. And we have developed a calendar of exciting events and programs to help you do so. You can find them on the Student Life Virtual Hub and the UD Events calendar.

One of the aspects of campus life that my wife, Eleni, and I have missed the most is connecting with students, faculty, staff and friends in person to learn about each other and share the enriching moments of community exchange that define the UD experience. So, throughout the fall semester, we will be finding new ways to open communication channels and engage in conversations about a variety of topics.

The past few months have served as a clear reminder that the University of Delaware is a resilient community of scholars, innovators and leaders. We will emerge from this pandemic even stronger than before, and I wish all of you a healthy and successful academic year ahead. Go Hens!


signature of President Dennis Assanis

Dennis Assanis

University of Delaware   •   Newark, DE 19716   •   USA  •   (302) 831-2111   •