Spring 2020 President's Letter Marc Johnson farewell letter


We always have… and we always will

Photo courtesy Office of the President

Since the middle of March, the University has faced the challenge of a historic pandemic while continuing to fulfill its missions of teaching, research and outreach.

In response to the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, we did this work in alternative fashions. Instruction was converted to remote methods immediately following spring break. Academic and social student support continued using remote methods. Essential research continued, and competitive proposals were submitted at the same pace seen in previous years. Business and administrative functions continued to operate using remote methods of communication and transactions. We kept the lines of communication open, holding University-wide virtual town hall events.

The University has gradually reopened operations and brought some employees back to campus, with primary concerns for the health and safety of students, employees and the public. During the latter part of summer, more employees returned to regular duties on campus and methods to protect individuals with preexisting sensitive conditions or those living with others with preexisting conditions were in force.

As we began the fall semester, most administrative offices and student service functions planned to be in full operation depending on the social distancing and public health requirements directed by Gov. Steve Sisolak. At press time for this issue of Nevada Silver & Blue, the University had enacted at least 20 policies and guidelines across all operations of the University, including mandatory completion of COVID-19 training for all employees to the requirement of facial coverings for all employees, students, vendors and visitors using all indoor and outdoor University public spaces, including classrooms.

The University’s mission has always been to lead and to serve others. Throughout the pandemic, that mission has never wavered. We have taken this pandemic one day at a time and let our mission-centric core values lead us.

Although it has been challenging, we are not without hope for the future. We’ve reaffirmed our long-held values. Protecting the health of our University community has become a shared responsibility for all. The people of our University have put forth herculean efforts on a daily basis, whether it has been on campus or in the cloud, to keep us moving forward.

We’ve learned to expect the unexpected in this time of uncertainty. But we’ve answered that volatility with the tried-and-true hallmarks of our University’s 146 years — with resilience, with patience, with understanding and with an abiding sense of collective purpose.

We will get through this challenging time. The University of Nevada, Reno always has, and we always will.

Marc A. Johnson, President