My Catholic faith and my faith in our campus community inspire my confidence in our future. Additionally, my confidence is stronger after witnessing how well our campus quickly transitioned to delivering the Loras educational experience remotely while simultaneously having to overcome significant financial challenges (e.g., refunding $600,000 of room/board charges, suffering market losses with the endowment, increasing technology costs in support of remote delivery).
In spite of all this, we were fortunate to finish the past fiscal year with a slightly better than projected budget surplus. We benefitted greatly from the generosity of alumni and friends like you. We also saw significant cost savings related to eliminating most campus operations and receiving federal stimulus funds. The latter will help us navigate the short-term, but we must remain vigilant in our efforts and deal with any number of unplanned turn of events.
As regards summer programming, we wanted to proceed cautiously and safely in order to follow the guidelines of health professionals. To that end, we cancelled most summer campus programming to include sports camps, summer housing and campus events. All of our summer courses are being delivered virtually. Fortunately, we have very strong registered enrollment for all three sessions. In aggregate, however, we will have significantly reduced summer revenue.
Our plan is to begin the new academic year in the Fall on campus and on time. In the weeks ahead, select faculty, staff and administrators will continue exploring potential safety and operational protocols to include:
- Offering alternate class schedules and sequencing of course days to minimize class size
- Reviewing campus housing, dining and fitness center practices
- Using personal protective equipment (PPE) and temperature checks, as appropriate
- Modifying visitor and facility access policies
- Reviewing guidelines regarding informal and formal gatherings
- Offering remote working and learning options for faculty, staff and students, respectively, whose health may be compromised
As many across the world express concern about the future, it is especially timely to underscore the promise of Loras. We serve students well, deliver an excellent Catholic education and provide affordable access to all. We honor the human dignity of each individual, succeed at the highest national levels and produce extraordinary outcomes. The Loras experience includes intellectual, spiritual, co-curricular and personal opportunities. We ensure community and inclusion, demand integrity and celebrate our history, tradition and our beloved mission.
Our faculty, staff, students and board are strongly committed to making all the necessary changes given a set of new socialization and health guidelines. We will move forward together, but we will not compromise the standards and values noted above and which Loras has always embraced.
With this communication, I am asking all alumni and friends to join our campus community in this renewal of Spirit. I invite your prayers, continued involvement in the life of Loras, and ongoing assistance in encouraging potential future students to consider the Loras experience. Now more than ever, our world needs Duhawks!
Finally, I ask for your continued financial support to the extent you are able. Making a gift today will help our students and their families overcome the many setbacks they have suffered resulting from the pandemic. Further, like most higher education institutions, Loras expects the upcoming months of the unknown to adversely impact the College even as we have the talent to withstand change. What you do to support Loras now will make a genuine difference in the lives of current and future Duhawks. If you are so inclined to provide a contribution, please visit alumni.loras.edu/summer.
Loras has overcome financial market collapses, building fires, leadership transitions, students being called to serve in wars, and many other unanticipated circumstances beyond our control. In large part, we have been able to withstand the difficulties because alumni and friends came to our aid. As I stated, I am confident that we will overcome this terrible virus, but we won’t be able to do so as well without our alumni and friends joining us again.
Remembering what makes Loras great only enhances my faith in its future. I am thankful for your role in ensuring both its greatness and its future. I am grateful in advance for your consideration in all ways.
President Collins will provide more updates in an upcoming Duhawk Digest podcast on July 25.