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Dear Colleagues,

This has been a truly historical, unprecedented time for Adelphi University, our state, our country and our world. While navigating the scary unknowns of a worldwide pandemic, you all have tested, prepared and shifted to virtual classrooms and remote working.

And now, tomorrow, Monday, March 23, as a university community, we will officially be operating in a 100 percent remote and virtual environment, except critical essential personnel.

Within a two-week period of time, we moved all of our instruction and operations for more than 10,000 members of our community to an online and remote environment. It has been nothing short of inspiring. Thank you to all of you for rolling up your sleeves, taking this so seriously and being creative and flexible in your approach to your work.

I know it has been a fast-paced two weeks of change. And everyone deserves a major round of applause. But I want to give a special shout-out to Nathalie Zarisfi and the entire team in the Faculty Center for Professional Excellence; Carol Ann Boyle and the Information Technology team for their rock-star work in getting us ready for our new work environments; and the Health Services Center team led by Nicole Gaudino, our CDC and Department of Health liaison.

As many of you know, I am in the midst of finishing my latest book—Shift Happens: How to Adapt and Thrive in a Rapidly Changing World. I’ve watched my chapters come alive over the last two weeks as we face our own rapidly changing world—many of us both personally and professionally.

With the remainder of the spring semester upon us, let me leave you with one secret to adapt and thrive through this fast-paced, evolving situation. Embrace the messiness of change. These past few weeks have been a shock to all of us. None of us have experienced a pandemic of this magnitude. And much of what is occurring is out of our control. Change is happening so fast—and at times too fast. And it is scary. Embrace and acknowledge your emotions, those of your colleagues, those of our students, those of our community. Change is messy in general; it is never a linear path. And this change in particular is taking us on a roller-coaster ride. It is okay to feel scared, unprepared and anxious about the weeks ahead of us—about the unknown and the learning curve to come. I encourage you all to embrace the messiness that comes along with change. Ask questions and seek support. In the coming days and weeks of remote working and learning, we are likely to face added anxiety as many members of our community and their families will be affected personally by COVID-19. Please lean on each other (figuratively!) for help and support.

It will be hard, but together as a community, we will get through this. It is super important to be kind, patient, empathetic, flexible, collaborative and future-focused. We have offered a number of resources to help with our transition and I encourage you to take full advantage of them.

As our emergency management committee continues to hold daily morning calls and remains in constant contact through the day and evening, be assured that we are responding to all aspects of this crisis and we are already looking ahead to recovery. Sometimes the changes are coming quickly and unevenly, but we continue to remain steadfast in our commitment to your health and safety while furthering our mission as a university to deliver a world-class education.

We will continue to communicate often and support all of you through the messiness of change.

Throughout this challenging time, please feel free to reach out to me with questions. I may not always have the exact answer, but I can certainly direct you to someone who will be able to respond. I am planning to launch virtual office hours and look forward to reconnecting with many of you in the days and weeks to come. Additionally, you can reach me directly at

As we prepare to resume our spring semester tomorrow, it is clear throughout everything that our resilient and hardworking Adelphi spirit remains strong. I am thinking about you and your families, and hoping you all stay strong and healthy throughout this crisis. Together we will rise and thrive through this new challenge!

I wish you all my best in your start to a new week tomorrow. We’ve got this, Adelphi!

All the best,

Christine M. Riordan, Ph.D.
Office of the President

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