Dear Members of the John Carroll University Community,
As I sat down to write this message, I looked out my office window at the Hamlin Quad and felt a smile come across my face at the sight of two students tossing a frisbee. It was a hopeful sight in an often confusing world. For almost a year, our campus has been void of these simple interactions.
In the coming days, as students continue to move into our residence halls and we prepare for spring classes to begin, I encourage you to take a moment to appreciate the common, everyday scenes that take place around us -- warm greetings between colleagues in the hallway of the Administration Building, students holding the door open for one another at the Lombardo Center, and classmates reuniting for the first time since March.
Even still, as we patiently wait for the full rollout of a vaccine, the pandemic will impact our daily way of life. Our movements, actions, and decisions on-campus and in the neighborhood and community must be guided by our care for one another through adherence to health protocols. Each of us must act responsibly to ensure that our campus remains safe. Some in our community will continue to live, learn, and teach from their homes. We must ensure they continue to feel connected to John Carroll in a virtual setting.
For many of us, the dawn of our new semester and the joy of being together is clouded by the historic and unsettling events taking place in our nation. The violent images of the United States Capitol under siege on January 6 remain etched in our minds and hearts as we continue to pray for those who were killed and injured. Along with the other AJCU presidents in our joint statement, I strongly condemn the violent efforts to disrupt our democratic process. On our campus, we must work together to seek understanding and reconciliation as we recommit ourselves to the ideals of fairness, justice, racial equity, and inclusion to which our nation aspires. For this reason, I have asked Dr. Tiffany Galvin Green, VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Dr. Ed Peck, VP of Mission and Identity, to organize activities for our community to foster dialogue and understanding, and to pray for our nation and its leaders. More information will be shared from their offices.
Our anticipation now turns to the Inauguration on January 20 and the peaceful transfer of power that is a hallmark of our great democracy. In preparation for this day, may we draw inspiration from the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday we celebrate on Monday. I encourage you to take a few minutes and reflect on his I Have a Dream speech and his vision for America.
We know that more challenges await us during these uncertain times. For those who need help, our University Counseling Center (216.397.4283) and Campus Ministry Department (216.397.4717) are available to support you. Let us continue to help one another as we move onward together and ignite a hopeful future.
Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.
President, John Carroll University