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Dear Eberly Science Friends

Dear Eberly Science Friends,Dean Cavener

I hope you and those you care for are healthy and safe. As always, I am humbled to lead one of the world’s great colleges of science. Now more than ever, I am proud of scientists. Thank you all for the contributions you are making to society.

As you are all part of our greater Eberly College of Science family, I want to keep you informed about how the college is adapting to this very serious COVID-19 pandemic. The college’s faculty and staff quickly transitioned to remote learning, and now three weeks into this new reality most of us have become accustomed to Zoom classes, new grading schemes, and being distant from our classrooms, laboratories, offices, colleagues, and students. We miss our students’ energy but know they’re where they should be.

As you know from your experiences during this pandemic, things change rapidly. The Eberly College of Science has developed a webpage containing important information for our students, faculty, and staff, and Penn State also has a regularly updated website with coronavirus information.

While this new reality has been anxiety producing, I must commend everyone for how quickly and efficiently they have made this transition. While most of our research has been stopped, new COVID-19-focused studies are being conducted in the hope that Eberly Science can play a vital role in saving lives and returning our daily existence to normal. Many have risen to the occasion and been recognized by others for their contributions. You can view these commendations that members of our college have sent to their colleagues on a “Thank You” webpage we have posted.

I especially want to commend our students who are evolving and adapting to this new situation. This cannot be easy for them, and it means much more than simply taking classes from a comfortable chair. They are missing out on the social side of college life—missing their friends, interactions with faculty, and what is turning out to be a beautiful spring in Happy Valley. Some are facing serious financial difficulties, uncertainties with housing and food, and all the anxieties that come with those added pressures. To provide some relief to our students, as of April 1 we are earmarking all new contributions to the college’s Future Fund for emergency financial assistance. Looking ahead to the end of the academic year, our graduating seniors will have their degrees conferred upon them in a University-wide remote commencement ceremony on May 9. It is certainly not what our seniors expected when they began their academic journeys, but they are to be congratulated for all they have achieved.

Throughout this period of uncertainty, I will endeavor to keep you informed about the life of the college. I know that you too have been impacted, and so we especially appreciate your continued interest in the Eberly College of Science at this critical time.

Stay healthy!

Sincerely,

Douglas Cavener's signature.