Editor’s note: This message was sent to parents and families of Colorado State University students on May 12 by CSU Provost Rick Miranda.
Dear Parents and Families:
Your students are in the final stretch of what has been the most extraordinary time of their academic careers and certainly for you, too, as their greatest champions. As your students take their final exams this week, I want to acknowledge all the work you have done to support them. Thank you for helping them make it through this challenging time amid an event that has upended our world.
For some of your students, the end of the semester also means graduation and contemplating how to celebrate without the culmination of a formal spring commencement ceremony. University officials made the difficult decision weeks ago to move the May 2020 commencement ceremonies to December to allow our 2020 graduates to share their achievements with their families in person. But graduates still need to be recognized and a team of passionate staff came up with a portfolio of innovative ideas to help graduates and their families celebrate now.
Our Events, Alumni, and Communications staff created a 28-page digital party pack which includes downloadable decorations, party food recipes, inspirations, photo props and instructions on how to make your own graduation cap and tassel. CSU staff also created a virtual yearbook for the Class of 2020 and Facebook profile frames for grads and their families. Our virtual commencement initiatives have gained attention and praise from other universities, especially for the digital party pack. The goal was to help graduates feel appreciated and celebrated, in recognition of this significant milestone in their lives.
As those teams were working on putting together something special for our graduates, our CARES Planning Team, Office of Financial Aid, Registrar’s Office, Academic Advancement Center, The Community for Excellence and The Key Communities, among other campus units, came together to get emergency aid into the hands of students as quickly as possible. So far, more than $3 million of the $8.8 million allocated to CSU for student distribution under the CARES Act has been dispersed. We are still processing applications and reaching out to students we know need these dollars. (Your student can learn more about these grants and apply here: https://financialaid.colostate.edu/cares-act-emergency-aid/.)
Last time I reached out to you, I talked about the power of dreams and dedication in transforming lives. As I said then, I know you are proud of your student for their dedication in pursuing their dream of a college degree despite an unprecedented disruption that none of us could have imagined. I’m sure that pride is only one of a range of emotions that you’re feeling now – relief that a long and strange semester is closing, concern for your student’s progress, and hope for a more normal version of life in the weeks and months to come. I can assure you that this is also the case for our faculty and staff who care so passionately about the success of your student.
Whether they are graduating this semester, finishing their first year or fall somewhere in between, our students should be celebrated. Shifting mid-semester to a new mode of learning required a lot from them and I know it could not have been easy for you. Everyone has done a lot of heavy lifting these past several weeks – you, your students, their faculty and our staff. Your students have shown enormous courage and dedication, and no doubt they have followed your lead. Thank you for all you’ve done.
Stay healthy, Ram Family – Rick M
Provost and Executive Vice President
Colorado State University