This fall term, my 23rd as president of Montclair State, has begun an academic year different from any that the University has experienced before. As you will read in this issue, we returned to campus in a reduced capacity, offering a combination of in-person, hybrid and online classes and many on-campus activities, in an effort to give our students as normal a campus experience as possible under the circumstances.
We have put tremendous effort and thought into the best and safest ways to connect our students effectively with the University during this pandemic. In the performing arts, for example, faculty turned the Red Hawk Parking Deck into outdoor rehearsal and performance spaces. In the sciences, specialized safety protocols permitted laboratory research and instruction to continue, and many classes in different disciplines were held in outdoor spaces and under tents as long as the weather allowed.
We are getting through this crisis, step by step, relying on our commitment, courage and ingenuity, and once we are on the other side of the pandemic, we will be able to turn our attention again to realizing our ever-evolving vision for the future.
My role in this University’s future growth and development, however, will come to a close at the end of June 2021, or as soon after that date as the next president arrives.
When I came to Montclair State, I found a solid institution with good and talented people, and enormous potential to grow in contribution to the state and nation. What we accomplished and built together truly transformed the University.
Unlike some who retire, I will not say that I have finished what I came to do. The University will never be finished; it is ever changing and meant for the ages, not just the decades. Even if I stayed for another 20 years, I would still never accomplish what I came to do, because my dreams and goals for the University have continued to grow with each new accomplishment and each passing year. All that we accomplish teaches us about what more we could do. As we finish each thing, we become better able to see what the next thing should be. As long as I am here, I could never be finished, so, at some point, I just have to stop.
I am grateful that this University and I have had the continued and generous support of our alumni and friends all these years. I can never thank you enough, and it has been a privilege to have you all as partners in building this great public university.
Susan A. Cole