January 2021 Town Hall

PRESIDENT RALPH W. KUNCL | January 15, 2021

Good afternoon, and welcome to today’s Town Hall.  Thank you for being here.

I will open this forum with just a few brief comments before we turn to the business at hand of providing university updates and answering your questions. 

First, I want to say thank you.  Thank you for your hard and excellent work.  Thank you for your resiliency.  Your creativity. Your flexibility.  And your innovation. 

I continue to be simply amazed and affirmed by the outstanding work you have done over the past many months, and are of course continuing to do, to successfully educate and support our students – and to support one other – in this challenging and unprecedented time.  You are an inspiration to me!  And, you are making a real difference at the University of Redlands for our students.  So, a big “Well done!” to each and every one of you. 

Second, I want to express just how terrific it is just to BE with you today.  This time of pandemic, by its very nature, can be terribly isolating, as well as arduous, and what is more, the combination of these makes for truly tough work. 

But the work you are doing is inspiring.  Indeed, there are signs of great hope and encouragement all around us.  In addition to your good work—“essential” in the language of the pandemic— I want to mention just a few more threads of inspiration.

At long last, finally (!), over 500 undergraduate students are rejoining our university campus community this week.  So many of you have been working literally round-the-clock to prepare for them – designing and implementing safety protocols and plans.  Of course, campus life will look and feel very different this semester, but nevertheless, students are returning.  And we are feeling uplifted to welcome them back to their Redlands home.  We have missed them.

Our alumni, Board of Trustees members, and many other friends of the University have continued their extraordinary generosity to the University.  While COVID has affected fundraising, our alumni and friends have donated over $1Million to date for the Redlands fund only half way through the year, and we are well on our way to secure our $1,500,000 goal for this fiscal year.   And, we have reached the $190,000,000 mark for the Forever Yours Campaign.  Wonderful news!

Other good news is that the December federal stimulus package has provided additional budget relief for the University. 

U of R will receive an approximate $5 Million allocation, with $1.7M of the allocation directed towards financial aid grants to support students.  The remaining $3.3M will help offset some, but not all, of our deficit this year due to COVID.  While we wish the allocation was greater, of course it is certainly appreciated.

So, with that, let me explain the format for today’s Town Hall.

I have invited 5 Cabinet Members, Provost Kathy Ogren, Vice President Kevin Dyerly, Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer Christopher Jones, Dean Donna Eddleman and Vice President Michelle Rogers to provide very brief updates next.

I hope and trust that their updates will inform you – indeed, provoke you – to ask questions.

We received some anonymous questions in advance of today that we will answer.

And, starting now, you may, at any time, type a question into the Q&A box on this WebEx.  If you do so, and please do (!), submit your questions to “all presenters.”

I will pose your questions, and our Cabinet members – all of whom are present here today – will answer them. 

You will also note that as you look at your screens, you will see many, many other presenters beyond Cabinet members.  That is because we have 13 colleagues who will also be answering your questions in writing in the Q&A forum. 

Two things to note:  If you ask a question in the Q&A box, when we answer it, everyone will see your question (and your name) as well as the answer.  If you wish to remain anonymous now and have not already submitted a question, please email Suzette Soboti or Cheyne Murray.  They have offered to ask any question you may have so that you may remain anonymous.

We look forward to today’s session, and we have designed it to be as robust and helpful as possible.

Thank you again for participating today, and for everything you are doing to support the University of Redlands and our students.