Dear Arts & Science undergraduate students,
Congratulations on making it to the last day of term. I know many of you still have course work to submit and final assessments to complete. Nevertheless, you’ve reached a milestone in your academic year, and that’s definitely cause for a little celebration!
What a year it’s been. Who could have imagined, when you arrived on campus in September, that the year would end this way? I know that because of the current situation, you have lost the opportunity for proper goodbyes, a loss that is especially felt and profound for graduating students. While we are all disappointed by the cancellation of Convocation, as President Meric Gertler announced in his email to graduating students earlier today, we look forward to celebrating your achievements at an in-person graduation ceremony in the future. We want to make sure this ceremony meets (and, I hope, exceeds) your expectations, and that’s why we will be sure to include student perspectives and suggestions as part of our planning, and also work with colleagues in the Colleges and across the Faculty. While we don’t know exactly when this in-person ceremony will happen, please know that when it does, I’ll be there on the stage and excited to congratulate and celebrate with each of you.
More immediately, earlier today provincial health experts released modelling projections for the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario, and while there is some evidence that the actions we are all taking have slowed the spread of the disease, the projections are sobering. With this new realization, we need to continue as an A&S community to remain committed to the guidance of public health experts, and likewise to demonstrate our compassion, courage, and resilience. Let’s continue to support one another, to recognize the challenges your fellow students and your instructors are experiencing, and to remain vigilant in putting a stop to any discrimination and harassment, which means now also recognizing the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has on the different parts of our community. The University of Toronto’s Equity Offices remain available to students to provide support related to equity issues that arise as a result of COVID-19.
Finally, I’ve really enjoyed writing my daily emails to you as we’ve counted down to the end of term, and I hope you have as well. I’ll continue to write to you regularly in the time to come. And while none of us can know when we’ll be in person together again, please know that I’m looking forward to meeting you upon that happy return — whether as students or alumni.
Continue to take care of those around you, and don’t forget to be good to yourselves!
Goodbye for now,
Melanie A. Woodin
Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science
Professor, Department of Cell & Systems Biology
University of Toronto