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To: The Stevens Community
From: President Nariman Farvardin
Date: March 1, 2021   
Subject: Looking Back and Looking Ahead: Stevens’ Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic and Planning for Summer and Fall 2021

The month of March 2021 marks the somber one-year anniversary of what has been an arduous and protracted process of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.  Over these past 12 months, Stevens has demonstrated agility and resilience, working time and again to find solutions to novel problems while providing a stellar technological education for our students and conducting pioneering research in our laboratories and remotely. 

During these last 12 months, many of us have faced serious challenges, from losing loved ones and being called upon to support our families in unanticipated ways—schooling children at home, caring for our own and family members’ health and mental health needs, and striving to meet our myriad commitments.  We have witnessed social upheaval, racial injustice, and political turmoil, all unfolding concurrently and intensely and amidst the increased pressures we have faced in our daily lives.  There is no one among us who has been unaffected.

As we acknowledge the significant stresses and challenges of the past year, we must also take pride in the progress we have made and in our many accomplishments. 

First and foremost, the measures we have taken to promote a safe and healthy campus have been working.  We cannot and should not become complacent—we must continue to follow the Health Honor Code, maintain social distancing, wear masks, and frequently wash hands, among other precautions.  However, due to the actions we have implemented, including our rigorous on-campus testing and contact tracing programs, our campus positivity rates have remained relatively low to date.  I thank each and every one of you for your adherence to our COVID health precautions, and I implore you to continue to be vigilant.

Second, enrollment is strong.  Overall enrollment in Spring 2021 is 7,257 compared to 7,032 this time last year, including 3,634 undergraduates (vs. 3,494 in Spring 2020) and 3,623 graduate students (vs. 3,538 last spring).  I particularly want to acknowledge the Undergraduate Admissions and Graduate Admissions teams, and all who played a part in these truly stellar results. 

Third, our campus and business operations are working well.  From the on-schedule construction of the new University Center and Student Residence, opening in Spring 2022, to the implementation of Workday Student, a transformational student information system, to the continuing provision of numerous student services—advising, financial aid, career placement and more—Stevens has adapted and made progress on many objectives despite numerous and ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic.

These achievements, our strong fiscal discipline, the many good decisions that have been made over the last year, and our continued progress on our 10-year strategic plan all combine to position Stevens to resume its steep upward trajectory post-pandemic.  I am most optimistic that, because of the collective efforts and energy of the entire Stevens community, our university’s star will continue to rise in the months and years ahead.

As we plan for the future, I am very hopeful that continued increases in vaccine availability will enable us to gradually expand our on-campus and in-person activities and plan for a “normal” Fall 2021 semester.  While Stevens, like all colleges and universities in New Jersey, remains subject to orders and limits from the State of New Jersey, we are looking forward to the possibility of a full campus experience for all students and all members of our community in the fall.  We expect to utilize the Summer 2021 terms as a transition period, with greater on-campus options for those students taking summer courses.

In closing, I again extend my most sincere and profound appreciation to each and every member of the Stevens community for your role in Stevens’ response to an unparalleled set of challenges.  I wish each of you good health, good fortune, and a successful Spring 2021 semester.