Dear Hokies,

As the fall semester draws to a close, I would like to convey both my sincere thanks and my good wishes for the holiday season. I hope you enjoyed your time with fellow Hokies as much as I have. The energy has returned to our campuses, and we are all rediscovering the power of the residential experience. Everyone has worked so hard to make this semester a success, and I hope you all take time to rest, recharge, and reconnect with friends, family, and loved ones over the upcoming break.

Thank you as well for doing everything needed to stay ahead of the delta variant this semester. Please continue to be mindful of the people around you and the spaces you occupy. We are all anxious to see the end of mask mandates, and we are monitoring the state of the pandemic to look for that opportunity. We are still waiting to learn more about the omicron variant, however the evidence is strong that boosters work against delta, so if you are eligible, please don’t delay in taking that next important step.

And while we will never fully return to the pre-pandemic modalities, those changes will be for the better. We are now able to engage students, faculty, employees, visiting scholars, and partners anywhere in the world at any time.

This flexibility and connectivity are affording a permanent change for the better in everything we do. At the same time, we have become mindful of the importance of in-person interactions, and the mental and emotional challenges of physical isolation.

For our December graduates, congratulations! I’m glad that you were able to complete your degree during a semester that felt a bit more like “normal.”  Stay close and stay connected.

I look forward to reconnecting with you in 2022 as we begin the spring semester, and invite you to join me for the State of the University Address on Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 1:30 p.m. at Moss Arts Center and online. It’s going to be an exciting new year.

Go Hokies!

Tim Sands,

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