Looking back on a year of resilience, looking forward with optimism

Hamilton Hall in the spring sunshine

Promising vaccine news gives us renewed hope of a future that will see us safely welcoming our students to campus.

Dear members of the McMaster community,

It was almost a year ago that COVID-19 changed all our lives. Students left residences for home, classes and most of our work went online, and we began to learn what it would truly mean to be in a worldwide pandemic.

The anniversary of those uncertain early days is important to mark. It is an opportunity to say thank you to every member of the McMaster community who has gone above and beyond to continue to support our students, the work of the university, and each other.

It is a time to remind ourselves that while COVID-19 may be the virus that is controlling so much of our lives, it is the humanity and the spirit of collegiality and generosity of our colleagues, friends, families and neighbours that are helping us overcome the challenges and encouraging us to look ahead to brighter days.

Planning for Fall is well underway and the good news we are now hearing about vaccines and the quickening pace of their rollout gives us tremendous optimism that we will be able to safely welcome students back to campus and into residences for the fall term.

The health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff continues to drive all our decisions. We very much appreciate the tremendous amount of work that is underway both within the University’s return to campus planning committees (more details can be found in this Daily News article) and within units across McMaster. We are committed to making the best decisions and, as the committees bring forward their recommendations over the next few weeks, we will share with you more detailed plans for Fall 2021.

The anniversary of the first lockdowns also prompts us to recognize the role that McMaster has played in helping provide healthcare in our own community and in strengthening the ways that Canada and countries around the globe have responded to the pandemic. Our researchers are leading the scientific discoveries to tackle COVID-19 and prevent future pandemics. They are developing and testing PPE to keep us all safer and creating greater understanding of the impacts COVID-19 has had on individuals and families, our economy and our most vulnerable. We can all take pride in the impact McMaster continues to have in the health and well-being of our world.

We wish we could say that the road ahead will be without bumps and unexpected turns. The past year has taught us that we need to be prepared for change and resilient in the face of unpredictability. But it has also taught us that we are more adaptable than we may have thought and that we can rely on each other to find solutions.

While we remember the past year, we hope you join with us in also looking with optimism to a future that will see us safely back together and welcoming our students to campus.

Please stay well and thank you for all that you continue to do for McMaster and our broader community.


David Farrar, President
Susan Tighe, Provost and Vice-President, Academic
Paul O’Byrne, Vice-President and Dean, Health Sciences
Karen Mossman, Vice-President, Research
Roger Couldrey, Vice-President, Administration
Mary Williams, Vice-President, University Advancement

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