Message from the President: Happy New Year and Welcome Back

By Caitlin T. Burns | January 5, 2021

Dear Arcadia Students, Staff, Faculty, Alumni, and Friends,

Happy New Year! As we prepare for a limited campus opening in Glenside, our community remains strong. Arcadia has updated its Health and Safety Plan, and community members will help minimize risk on campus by wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, and keeping the campus clean. University staff in Student Health Services will receive the first dose of the COVID vaccine this week. Arcadia is an approved vaccine distribution location and awaits state directions once emergency and healthcare personnel (Phase 1a) are protected. We will keep the community updated as we learn more information.  

Our strategic and values-based approach to decision making yielded many accomplishments this past year and kept us on a path that places student success at the center of all we do. The Adaptive Strategy helped align priorities that led to the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Mentoring, communities of practice, new teaching modalities, and an inclusive pedagogy framework. We expanded our nationally ranked Doctor of Physical Therapy program and successfully welcomed its first hybrid cohort; adapted to global travel and in-country restrictions to include virtual experiences in Europe; made significant progress with Arcadia’s Anti-Black Racism Initiatives; and instituted enrollment strategies such as College Prep 101, a workshop that debunks admissions myths and helps all high school students through the process. 

While COVID has brought difficulty, this is not the first time in our 167-year history that we have faced a pandemic. Alumna and donor Marjorie Florence Aldrich Bowers ’42, who died last year at the age of 100, reminded us that a polio outbreak postponed her intended senior year in 1941. The strength, resiliency, and legacy of Marjorie and her classmates is reflected in today’s Arcadia students, a fearless group that includes the first Social Action and Justice Education fellows; a nationally recognized drag racer; an aspiring cleft palate surgeon who fought through 12 surgeries of her own; and many more inspiring Knights. They fill us with hope and ambition as we remain #ArcadiaStrong.

We are forever changed by the lessons learned and strengthened by our accomplishments as a community. Let us welcome 2021 with courage and ambition, with a strategic approach and vision that will propel Arcadia forward, and with the experience and vision to guide us in the challenges we face.