TCNJ Magazine Spring 2020

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1 SPRING 2020 When we started the spring semester in January, the coronavirus was not yet a household name and life on campus was pleasantly routine. Students exchanged hugs as they moved back into residence halls, fans filled Packer Hall with high fives as the men's wrestling and basketball teams amazed us all, and the Class of 2020 created bucket lists to complete before May. Just six weeks later — at about the time of our spring break — New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency after the state's first reported deaths from the virus. Suddenly, the college faced a daunting challenge: how to switch overnight from a vibrant, on-campus institution known for its rigorous academics and close-knit community to one providing remote instruction. While we had been planning for this contingency for a month, that didn't make the change any less disruptive. I am especially sad for our seniors, who left for spring break not knowing whether they would be returning to campus as a class. As one poignantly wrote, "Our senior year is cut short, goodbyes are left unsaid, and so many memories will never be made." Instead of gathering in Lions Stadium on May 21, our seniors experienced their graduation ceremony virtually. You would be proud to know that for each decision, every academic and administrative unit put the safety and health of the college community first, while also ensuring the semester's completion. TCNJ delivered our principal mission: providing high-quality and caring education to our student body. The pandemic also provided the college with a chance to show its social mettle: students sewing face masks and delivering meals to the elderly; faculty running their home 3D printers to produce much-needed protective medical shields; and alumni nurses and doctors serving on the front lines, to name only a few. There is still much uncertainty surrounding the course of the pandemic, which makes planning for the fall semester and beyond a challenge. But when it does pass, I am confident that we will look back on these days and recognize TCNJ at its finest: focused, caring, practical, flexible, and creative. The new now TCNJ Magazine scrambled (remotely) to bring meaning to these pages in a most unusual time. First, President Kate Foster checks in.

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