Dear Members of the Brown Community,

Exactly one year ago, nearly everything about the way we learn, work and live as the Brown community changed. I will never forget watching students say goodbye to each other on the College Green, unsure of when they would see their friends and professors again. In the days and weeks that followed, many of us logged into virtual meeting rooms for the first time, while essential staff remained to support critical needs on a jarringly quiet campus.

No one imagined that our lives would be so different for so long. As I reflect on this anniversary, I am astounded at all that we have accomplished together. Our community has adapted to new ways of working and learning. We have embraced technology to preserve our sense of unity. We have contributed knowledge and research to address challenges during a time of significant upheaval. And we have supported our local community — by donating supplies to the frontlines of the pandemic response and by supporting local organizations that offer direct services to the most vulnerable.

And I know it has not always been easy. We must acknowledge that, at times, it has been exceedingly hard. But there have also been so many wonderful moments of connection and friendship, and excitement and reflection, and laughter and release. I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for each and every one of you. You have persisted and contributed to the enduring spirit of the Brown community.

As we consider what life will be like in the months to come, I am encouraged by the remarkable achievements of scientists who have developed highly effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines. While we all wish vaccine distribution was happening more quickly, I am optimistic that we are on the right path, and the time when we can be together again in-person is near.

Still, we are continuing to live through an extraordinarily challenging time. This pandemic has created loss and economic hardship across the globe, including in the Brown community. Please take advantage of the counseling, advising and other resources at the University if you need help.

My fervent hope on this anniversary is that we can rededicate ourselves to supporting each other through acts of kindness and expressions of patience and empathy. Brown always has been — and will continue to be — a community that cares deeply about the world and about each other.

As we begin to approach the end of this chapter in our lives, I have no doubt that, working together, Brown will emerge from this pandemic, a stronger and more unified community.


Christina H. Paxson