January 4, 2021

Dear UD Community,

Welcome back from the holiday break and to the start of a fresh new year at the University of Delaware! My wife, Eleni, and I hope that you and your loved ones are safe, healthy and looking forward to the many exciting opportunities that lie ahead for us all.

The past year tested us in myriad ways we never expected and hope to never experience again. Despite these challenges, the UD community has not only persevered in its academic, research and service missions, but excelled at making strides toward the ultimate goal of creating a better world for all. This year also brought out the best of UD, shining a spotlight on the indomitable spirit of our students, faculty and staff, who adapted quickly while staying true to the University’s mission and values.

As I hear the very touching sentiments expressed by our students, whose reflections of the past year are captured in this video, I am extraordinarily confident and optimistic about UD as we begin 2021.

This is an inspiring moment in our constant drive to realize the success of every UD student, one in which we can reinvigorate how we teach and learn by drawing on the lessons of 2020. While the lasting power of the face-to-face campus experience is undeniable, innovative paradigms with blended approaches to creating and sharing knowledge have emerged, leading to transformative advances in personal development, education and impact. We will continue to expand academic offerings throughout the year, reaching a broad and diverse array of people and places to enhance the UD experience well beyond the traditional classroom. Indeed, I am confident that our community will seize this opportunity to adapt and invent new ways to benefit UD students well into the future.

Developing thoughtful and dedicated leaders has been part of UD’s mission since our earliest days, and we can certainly draw fresh inspiration from the leadership of Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the 46th President of the United States and incoming First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, both of whom are proud UD alumni. Over the years, generations of Blue Hens have demonstrated the limitless and transformative power of a UD education. Now, as we look to the future, we will continue to cultivate a new generation of leaders who are diverse, globally oriented, interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial.

Our University is also poised to extend the scope and impact of its research enterprise. One-quarter of our current faculty have joined UD within the past four years, bringing energy and new ideas to our distinguished ranks. In addition, several UD research centers — both new and existing — secured major funding for their important work during the time of the pandemic. And the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) has a new headquarters in the recently completed Ammon Pinizzotto Biopharmaceutical Innovation Center located at UD’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus. This positions our University as a bold, national leader in a dynamic field that is currently capturing global attention with an increasing need for innovation and progress to benefit society.

As we emerge this year from the pandemic and its effects, we will reimagine our role in a post-COVID world, strategically leveraging UD’s strengths, resources and investments to secure an even more hopeful future. While this certainly applies to education and innovation, it also includes the priority of our culture — the values that we live by, the actions we take to connect and support one another with an open and inclusive perspective, and the attention we devote to our health and wellbeing. To this end, I know many of our students will benefit holistically from the new Wellbeing Center at Warner Hall.

Truly, this is an exciting time to be part of the University of Delaware, and I am honored to be serving as your President. With so much opportunity ahead, I plan to engage the entire University community in a comprehensive planning process this spring as we chart our path forward into 2021 and beyond.

Eleni and I wish you great happiness, health and success in 2021. Whatever the challenges of 2021 may be, we will meet them head on, together. And we will continue to be inspired by the possibilities that are yet to come!


signature of President Dennis Assanis

Dennis Assanis

University of Delaware   •   Newark, DE   •   udel.edu/president