One of the things I love about working at Longwood is the thoughtfulness and deep emotion our president, W. Taylor Reveley IV, feels about Longwood and the students we’re here to nurture and help grow into their best selves.
This week President Reveley sent a message to your Lancer and their fellow students about the need for continued vigilance but also optimism for the remainder of the spring semester and next year. Like all of us, he is looking forward to the time when the campus returns to normal and the Longwood community will be able to express and experience their trademark connectedness fully in person.
Here is the text of his message:
Halfway through the spring semester, I just wanted you to hear from me with a note of encouragement and—yes—optimism.
We are not yet through this challenge. Recent large outbreaks at other college campuses remind us how quickly Covid-19 can spread if we let our guard down. Important restrictions related to gatherings, masks and social distancing remain in place across Virginia. I suspect they will for some time, until we are more surely in the clear.
But with the first feel of spring in the air, I am more hopeful than I have been in some time. Thanks in great measure to the continued citizen leadership and responsibility of the vast majority of our students, our plan to navigate the epidemic on campus is working. Now, the weather will allow us to be outside more. Case numbers have been moving in the right direction in the Commonwealth. Every day tens of thousands more Virginians are getting vaccinated.
While I cannot be sure, I hope this spring we will see more and more aspects of life returning closer to normal.
It is one sign of progress (and pride) that all of our athletics teams are now competing. In the meantime, I have worked to convey across Longwood that a top priority these coming weeks will be to keep us connected to one another, and to honor our campus traditions, so meaningful to us all, as best we safely can. We’ve let the Class of 2021 know we will do as much as we possibly can under state guidelines for Commencement in May. As for next fall, I believe we really can look forward to a far more normal campus experience, closely resembling the deeply connected Longwood we know and love.
It has meant a lot that we have been able to be here on campus this year, and experience in-person learning more than most other colleges in Virginia or across the country. But I know it hasn’t been easy. I have heard from many of you that the precautions in place, which make it harder to connect with one another, have taken a real toll—and that you have been genuinely grieving experiences you have missed.
This next stretch will likely bring a range of emotions—that true sense of sadness and loss, but also I hope pride in how we have persisted, and real optimism for a future now within reach.
Please these next few weeks, in the finest Longwood tradition, keep looking out for one another. Ask for help if you are struggling, and offer it if you see someone in need.
And finally, I hope you will embrace the generational opportunity that follows from your generational challenge.
As students, you are caretakers of this place—our spirit, our traditions and one another. Amongst your friends and classmates and neighbors, on teams and in clubs and organizations, you can help keep vibrant Longwood’s traditions, culture and camaraderie. Each of you can help pass down what is most special about this place to those who will follow. I think you will find great purpose and reward in this work.
Be safe, take care of yourselves and one another, and savor Longwood and its campus, always so beautiful in the springtime.