The following is an email that was sent to the families of Loyola undergraduate students on Thursday, April 2, 2020.
Subject: A note from Loyola's president
Dear Loyola Families,
The other day I was walking across campus and thinking of our students—and of you. The trees are blooming, and the campus is so quiet, not at all characteristic of the usual hum and energy that you find here in the spring. I found myself thinking that your home may be the exact opposite—likely a buzz of activity as everyone tries to find a quiet corner to think or take a call or get work done. I hope you and your students are coping well and perhaps even finding moments to make pleasant memories as a family. Above all, I hope you are safe and healthy.
The transition to online learning has been a significant one for our students and faculty, and I am proud and grateful that they have embraced that change with enthusiasm, even during such a difficult time. Members of the faculty have shared how excited they are to see the students log on for each class. I had the chance to experience that myself when I Zoomed into a course last week. I was so grateful to see the students’ faces and how they were connecting with their professor from afar. We are all thankful for those moments of connection during this time, even though we wish they could happen in person.
In the next few days, many of you will be receiving a notice from our Finance Office with details about your credit or refund resulting from an adjustment to charges associated with closing the campus and sending students home. (Some students are not eligible for housing and/or meal plan credits due to their non-residential status or specific housing and/or meal-plan grants they receive.) When I wrote to you on March 18 to share that the University would be providing an appropriate prorated refund or credit for room and board, I was humbled—but not surprised—that several families responded that they wanted to gift that refund to the University. With deep gratitude and appreciation—and recognizing the difference those gifts can make for those in our community most affected by this crisis—we have applied those gifts to our newly created Emergency Relief Fund.
This crisis—which has become both a health and economic crisis—is having a significant and even devastating impact on members of our community. Some of our families are truly struggling right now and facing an uncertain financial future. If that is your situation, I hope you know that our Loyola community walks with you through this journey in thought, in prayer, and—however possible—in action. Please stay in touch and let us know how we can support you.
If you decide that you would like to donate part or all of your credit or refund to our Emergency Relief Fund or to direct it toward financial aid for students in need, please contact Terry Sawyer, our vice president for advancement, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please know that I have no expectation that any family will want to contribute in this way. I merely present this as an opportunity for those who feel able and called to do this.
During this time of great uncertainty, I encourage you to take time every day to reflect with gratitude and joy. Even in this time of unexpected difficulties, St. Ignatius would remind us to seek beauty and hope.
You and your families are in my prayers.
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.
P.S. I invite you and your family to (virtually) visit Loyola on Sunday as I preside over the 6 p.m. Palm Sunday Mass, which we are streaming live online.