This is a time of mixed emotions for the Welch College family. Combined with the changes and difficulties the Coronavirus is bringing to our daily lives, and the suffering wrought by it, we see all around us people who are responding with wisdom and hard work and the love of Christ.
We have seen this in our Welch College family and its students, faculty, and staff. We are especially thankful for all the outstanding work we have seen from our Welch Coronavirus Special Committee (co-chaired by Craig Mahler and Greg Fawbush), which got out ahead of this pandemic very early on, as well as our Provost Dr. Matthew McAffee.
We wish we didn’t have to write this email, because we so miss you being on campus. Yet, like so many other colleges and universities, our college leadership has concluded that it will be necessary to finish the spring semester remotely. This online format will include the taking of exams, and the ending date for the semester will be the same as it originally was.
As we said to you in a previous email, our faculty is already skilled at teaching remotely/online. Unlike most college faculties, they have the advantage of having already done this two years ago, when the opening of our newly constructed campus was delayed by several weeks.
Sadly, we will not be able to have commencement ceremonies on the regularly scheduled date in May. We are considering our options for a ceremony later in the year. We know how much of a blow this is to our seniors and their families, as it is to us, and will have everyone on campus as soon as possible to celebrate our graduates and the signal accomplishments for which they’ve worked so hard.
The Special Committee in concert with the Offices of the President and the Provost are developing plans for keeping in touch with you and for delivering online chapel content from the faculty. Like you, the sense of community at Welch is one of the things we love the most about the college. So a committee has been appointed to keep faculty and staff in touch with students, one-on-one, to give spiritual and emotional support over the coming weeks. We are also planning pro-rated credits for room and board. We will get you details on that as soon as we finalize them.
We know you have a lot of questions. The Office of the Provost and the Special Committee on Coronavirus will be communicating with you soon with more detail and answers to your questions. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Continue to check your email for further updates from the college.
We want to remind you of God’s promise to you in life’s worst circumstances. We urge you to meditate prayerfully on this promise from Isaiah 41:
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
We also encourage you to observe the widely communicated guidelines on social distancing and stay safe. Use the technological means at your disposal to keep in touch with your fellow students, as well as faculty and staff, and to show Christ’s love to those in need. We’d even recommend that you call the people who love you, especially the elderly in your church, family, and neighborhood, to let them hear your voice. We know you’ll continue to join us in prayer for those affected by the Coronavirus.
We’ll never forget when we had “survived” the move from the old campus to the new one, having been separated from our students for all that time—Christmas break, followed by several weeks of online instruction with our faculty and staff working from home as campus construction was completed. When it came time for everyone to come back, a sign was hung out in front of the campus that said, “Welcome home!” The reunion was sweet. Please know that you are dear to us, and we are looking forward to seeing our wonderful Welch students back on this campus and saying, “Welcome home!”
In the meantime, let’s keep praying and being who the Spirit is leading us to be in Christ.
The Lord bless you and keep you.
Matt and Melinda Pinson