Stockton News

President Kesselman: “Welcome Back, Ospreys!”

Written to campus community on September 8, 2020

Welcome Back Fellow Ospreys!

I am pleased to say that we are back and we are ready!  We are ready to begin this new academic year on the strength of a renewed commitment, to offer the finest collegiate experience, even within our current environmental challenges. We’re ready for the months of university planning and preparation to manifest into real opportunity for Stockton students and our campus community to learn, to grow, to connect, and to support one another as we face the uncertainties of tomorrow.  And we are more than ready to embrace this new academic year with the spirit of hope and optimism, as willing participants of the change we desire and need.

As we return to campus, Stockton is ready to strengthen our peer-to-peer connectedness without jeopardizing the wellness of our community.  We are ready to engage student learning opportunities in multiple modalities, and to experience the natural beauty of both the Galloway and Atlantic City campuses, yet with the necessary modifications and enhanced safety protocols in place.

Now proclaiming, “we are ready,” is not an admission that everything within our campus community is “back to normal.”  Stockton, like everywhere else, feels the enormous impact of our societal ills.  We have not gone untouched by the seemingly endless trials and tribulations of the COVID-19 virus.  We have not been unmoved by the antiracism protest of police brutality, and in witnessing of the murders of Mr. George Floyd or Ms. Breonna Taylor or Mr. Stephon Clark, of whom we proudly Say Their Names.  Nor have we been unshaken by the financial hardship stemming from the wrath of a global pandemic.

But what we do, is this.  We boldly declare and speak into existence that which is at the forefront of everything we do, our mission — to develop engaged and effective citizens and provide an environment for excellence.  And because we care about you and care about our environment, we will always rise to the challenge of finding creative solutions to maximize learning effectiveness and to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our campus community.

We’re ready to meet the state-mandated requirements for reopening our university safely as outlined in our comprehensive Institutional Plan for Fall 2020 Restart, which provides public health and safety guidelines for students, faculty, and staff to follow.  Since it is never the responsibility of just one, but the collective efforts of the entire community, our choices matter when it comes down to protecting ourselves and one another.  It is crucial that we all do our part in helping to keep the coronavirus at bay. That’s why must “Mask Up, Back up, and Wash Up”.  In all public spaces, we require everyone on campus to wear a mask.  We also practice physical distancing of at least six feet between ourselves and others.  Moreover, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, as these all are key methods of protection.  I invite you to check out our Coronavirus Information webpage, and explore all of the mitigation actions the University has put into place (signage, office modifications, intensive cleaning, etc.), so we can all Soar Safely at Stockton.

But Stockton is not only concerned with the physical well-being of our community.  We are pledged – and likewise, with our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion – we stand firm in promoting the antiracism and social justice cause, to help eradicate systemic racism, which has plagued our world for far too long.  Stockton recognizes that we, too, play a role in dismantling practices that foster the achievement gap that historically has been experienced by students of color.  Therefore, we are intertwining the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion into all practices within our institution.  Stockton has already implemented a number of racial and social justice initiatives, many of which are highlighted on our website.  Again, I invite you to not only explore what Stockton is doing but commit to finding your voice in the effort to stamp out racial injustice.

We are so glad you chose to be a part of the Stockton University community.  This new chapter will undoubtedly be quite extraordinarily different than anything Stockton has experienced in any academic new year.  And as with all new experiences, I am sure it will require some adjustments as warranted.  But I am also confident it will be met with great success if we remain connected to each other, whether by remote learning or in person; and safely engage with the campus community, supporting each other with tangible empathy.

We are ready for this moment, Stockton.  So, let’s fly.

Categories: Stockton News