I hope this finds you and your families safe, healthy and well. The events of the last few months have been unprecedented. While the coronavirus pandemic has impacted each of us in some way, the long-term effects are still unknown for so many within our community. All that we can do is proceed thoughtfully with compassion and care for one another.

We began monitoring the spread of the virus and preparing for various scenarios beginning in January. We knew there would be a significant impact to the university, but none of us believed just how significantly things would change. In March, we started implementing plans that led us to transition all instruction to online and alternate modes of delivery for the rest of the semester, wind down most operations on campus as employees began working from home, and cancel everything from conference travel to athletics competitions to performing arts events. Through each phase of this work, we have sought to keep our students’ education and the health and safety of our entire university community front and center in our decision making.

As we began to execute these changes, amazing stories began to emerge that demonstrate the care and compassion of our Community of Bears for one another and our neighbors. We heard stories of faculty creating and donating personal protection equipment to our regional healthcare centers, of students searching for and building community in unexpected places, and of generous donors providing emergency funding to ease our students’ financial burdens. These are the stories that we chose to present to you in this issue of UNC Magazine. 

I hope that when you read these stories you feel a deep sense of pride in UNC and the university’s response to the pandemic. While it is true that the conclusion of the spring semester was abrupt and difficult, we are emerging from the challenge as a community bonded together through acts of compassion, ingenuity, and collaboration. Every member of our community, each of you, gave us reason to be proud and for that I thank you. 

We are not through with this chapter in the university’s history just yet, but these stories give me a great deal of confidence that we will make it through these challenges and continue to fulfill the dreams of future Bears for years to come.

Rowing, Not Drifting,
Andy Feinstein, President