Adapting and pivoting as the world shifts
The deadline for this issue of OWU Magazine hit just as the COVID-19 pandemic was closing schools and businesses and transforming all of our lives.
The coronavirus has flipped our world upside down, and spring semester at OWU is equally upturned. At the time of this writing (mid- March), we have ended in-person classes for the semester, and faculty are working together—at a safe social distance—to rework classes and teach remotely to students scattered across the country and around the world.
The crisis is rapidly changing from day to day. We have postponed Commencement with the goal of rescheduling it to celebrate our seniors sometime this summer.
This situation is most distressing to our seniors, who are missing their final spring semester on campus with their friends. In his message to seniors committing to rescheduling rather than canceling Commencement, President Rock Jones wrote: “As much as you want to be here to complete your senior year, we want you here, too. We have watched you grow and mature so much over the past four years as your Ohio Wesleyan classes and experiences have opened your eyes to the world and helped you to define your role in it. How could we not gather to celebrate something so significant?”
We have also had to cancel Reunion Weekend, and we plan to invite 2020 reunion classes to a grand celebration with 2021 reunion classes next spring.
At this time of crisis and uncertainty, we are inspired by the creativity and resilience of OWU students, employees, and alumni. In that truly liberal arts spirit, Chris Sayer ’99, featured in our cover story as the founder and owner of Connecticut’s Brewery Legitimus, told us on St. Patrick’s Day: “We are in good shape here for the moment. Still able to sell curbside, and luckily we have the education and life-skill set to hold out better than others. (On our staff are) two MBAs, a JD, and two years in the Peace Corps. We can pivot and adapt to a situation quicker than most!”
On behalf of President Rock Jones and all of those who have been separated from the OWU campus in this time of remote work, teaching, and learning, the OWU Magazine staff wishes you health, happiness, and the spirit to adapt, pivot, and persevere as we continue to navigate this most challenging time.