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Spring Semester Draws to a Close

Headshot of President-Elect Seidel

Hello, UW community!

In what perhaps feels like a blink for our students, spring classes officially drew to a close last week in Wyoming! This week marks finals, followed by commencement on Saturday. We recognize that spring commencement is going to feel very different, and I applaud the many efforts being put forth by UW’s students, parents, friends and administration to create a virtual celebration to adequately convey the enormous depth of pride we have in the achievements of all our graduates!

Most importantly, to all you new graduates: You will always be known as the class who made it through and succeeded in this most demanding year of our lives, as the class who would not be stopped, no matter the obstacles thrown at you, at your families and at all of us. Congratulations!

While our engagements won’t include the in-person hugs, handshakes and celebratory events, I have found immense enjoyment in reviewing many of the social media messages coming to our graduates. If you have a few minutes, I encourage you to browse the offerings on UW’s 2020 commencement website at www.uwyo.edu/commencement, as well as join us on Saturday, May 16, at 10 a.m. for the virtual commencement ceremony. I am eager to share this moment with all of you and know it will be a special treat to hear from our keynote speaker, UW head football coach Craig Bohl. You can join us for the virtual ceremony via WyoCast.

In addition to the demanding schedules our students and faculty face this week, UW leadership is engaged in many important semester end activities. This week, all divisions and departments of the university have been presenting to the Board of Trustees their budgets for FY2021. The board is continuing committee work, and its full session is tomorrow, May 14. Links to observe these meetings can be found here. At the conclusion of the Board of Trustees meetings, President Theobald will host the 2020 spring faculty meeting. As much as my schedule allows, I have been participating remotely during the meetings this week.

Gabrielle and I continue the work here in Illinois to prepare our household for what we are now affectionately calling “the big move.” We did identify interim housing, so it was good to cross that off the list! Last week, we were able to enjoy another virtual social gathering with UW colleagues, this time the associate deans. We continue to enjoy meeting members of the UW family in this manner, as it prepares us for our time at UW. Last week, we asked for any reading or film suggestions to help us orient us to our new home, and many of you reached out with great suggestions. Thank you! We are starting to watch and read where we can find digital content -- this week we have been watching and learning about the Lincoln Highway.

Let me tell you a little bit more about my partner, Dr. Gabrielle Allen. Gabrielle is an amazing person. She comes from Barking, England, near London. You can learn a little bit about Gabrielle at her web page at the University of Illinois, where she is a professor of astronomy and associate dean for research in the College of Education, having moved there nearly four years ago from her role as senior research scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. I don’t know of anyone who has been affiliated with departments as broad as Astronomy, Computer Science, Curriculum and Instruction, and Physics, also having roles ranging from leading programs at the National Science Foundation to helping to build Skoltech, a Russian university, where she also served as the interim CIO. She is an expert in black holes and scientific computing, among many things, and has interesting stories from her time as a graduate student at Cambridge (ask her). She is also the one who got me starting in camping and hiking, and will be a perfect fit for Wyoming.

Gabrielle and I are one week closer to arriving in Wyoming, and our excitement for the task at hand continues to grow! We send our wishes for success to the students as they conclude exams and prepare for the end of the term. We know students are not just having to adapt to online instruction and programs, but that many are also working to support families, friends and community. Remember, we’ve made it through this most difficult and unexpected phase of our lives, and are prepared for anything to come. Although not in person, we look forward to “seeing” many of you throughout the week -- and particularly on Saturday, as we send our graduates off with a huge Pokes congratulations!

President-Elect Ed Seidel

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