February 15, 2021

Dear UD Community,

Welcome to the start of a new spring semester at the University of Delaware! This is a time of fresh starts and renewed energy for learning, discovery and growth, with an optimism that flows from successfully meeting the challenges of the past year and the promise of a brighter future ahead.

Whether you are on campus or continuing to learn and work remotely this semester, my wife, Eleni, and I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and well. It has been almost a full year since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted all of our lives so dramatically. Throughout this trying period, you have demonstrated tremendous flexibility, teamwork, sacrifice and resilience in carrying out the vital work of the University. We deeply admire your strong commitment to the education, research and service missions of UD, and we thank you for everything you are doing — every day — to protect yourselves and one another in our shared pursuit of scholarly excellence and impact.

Over the past year, we have all learned so much about how to cope with the novel coronavirus and its far-reaching effects on our society. Throughout the fall semester, we saw how frequent testing, daily health screenings, face coverings, physical distancing and other measures can be effective in slowing the spread of the virus. These measures helped keep the number of cases on campus relatively low, and this is an accomplishment shared by everyone.

With more people and activities now on campus, these healthy behaviors will be more important than ever throughout the spring semester and, most likely, well into the rest of the year. The nationwide vaccination program now underway is showing promise in finally breaking the hold that COVID-19 has had on our society. However, the so far limited availability of the vaccine and the arrival of new variants of the virus mean that university communities continue to be vulnerable to outbreaks, as we have seen on several other campuses recently. At UD, we must remain vigilant and do everything possible to protect our community in the months ahead.

I sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding as we all adjust to the evolving reality of the pandemic. Working and conducting classes online can sometimes be difficult, yet you not only adapted quickly but have continued to thrive and succeed. We are all eager to enjoy campus gatherings and Blue Hen athletics again and to celebrate our graduating students at the end of the academic year. Please know we are working every day on these issues, in accordance with public health protocols, and we will announce our plans in March.

We have navigated this unprecedented pandemic together and we will come out on the other side stronger than before. As we begin the spring semester, I am certain that the UD community will again rise to the challenge of doing whatever is necessary to ensure we can resume the normal rhythms of campus life as soon as it is safe to do so.

Have a great spring semester!


signature of President Dennis Assanis

Dennis Assanis

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