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Skidmore College

An update from President Conner

October 21, 2020

Dear Skidmore Community, 

As we approach the final stretch of the fall semester, I want to say once again just how proud I am of the entire Skidmore community for all the work that has been done to keep COVID-19 cases on campus to a minimum. As I emphasized in my recent video message to our students, we should be rightly proud of our great work, but at the same time we know there is a resurgence of the disease across the United States and around the world, and even in parts of New York and our neighboring states in the Northeast. We need to continue to exercise extreme care, keep one another safe and healthy through the remaining few weeks of this semester and carry that positive momentum into the coming spring semester.  

Planning for the spring is now well underway and we are taking a close look at what will need to be accomplished during the winter break from Dec. 4 through the start of the spring semester on Feb. 2. The semester will begin a week later than usual, and it will run for 14 consecutive weeks and end at the usual time in May. We will continue to assume that health and safety conditions will be similar to those of the current fall semester and that the same basic approach to policies and procedures will be taken. However, as I mentioned above, ever-shifting circumstances are always a factor in this pandemic, so we will keep pressing forward with the current semester, assess where we are in the weeks ahead and keep the Skidmore community informed at every step of the way. 

Last week, several of my colleagues and I had the privilege of providing updates about our remarkable Skidmore community to the Board of Trustees and outlining initial plans and goals for the spring semester and beyond. The Board was very impressed by all that has been achieved so far this fall, from the community’s successful COVID mitigation efforts to promising changes and engaging programming and projects nearly two months into the yearlong Racial Justice Initiative. During the virtual Board meeting, a brief video tour of campus gave Board members an overview of what has been happening on campus this semester, including glimpses into classrooms, athletics practices and social experiences and a look at the newly opened first phase of the Center for Integrated Sciences. The achievements of our amazing students, staff and faculty and such positive developments amid difficult times continue to give us good reason to look forward to Skidmore’s future.  

In yet more positive news, we recently had the honor of hosting Luis Miranda Jr. in a virtual conversation about his family, his career as a political consultant and activist, his dedication to volunteer work and to his native Puerto Rico, the value of the liberal arts, his connection to Skidmore and the new HBO documentary about his life, “Siempre, Luis.” He had many inspiring stories and probing insights to share, and he offered some great advice to our students about the importance of education and being active and engaged community members. The one-hour event drew many viewers on Monday, but for those who weren’t able to tune in live, the video is now posted and available to watch. 

Barbara and I are also pleased to share that Skidmore Cares will return this November. Caring, connecting and giving are at the heart of Skidmore Cares and we are excited to be able to continue this annual campuswide event, which supports numerous nonprofit and community organizations and has a tremendous impact on many people in our area. More information will be shared soon, and we are looking forward to another successful year of this signature Skidmore and Saratoga Springs event. 

We’re turning the corner for our final lap in this extraordinary fall semester of 2020. I’m conscious that we have so much for which we are thankful, and also that the present challenges remain as acute as ever. Do take care of yourselves, and take care of each other. We are accomplishing great things this fall, and I have very high hopes for our future. Together we can complete a great fall semester and then look forward to what’s to come in the spring.

Marc C. Conner