COVID-19 Message from President Bendapudi

April 6, 2020 - President

Dear Cardinal Family,

Over the last month, we have seen our campus, our city and our world change at lightning speed in response to the global spread of the novel coronavirus causing the COVID-19 disease.  Across higher education, a sector known for its slow pace of change and for its lecture and dining halls filled with students, faculty and staff, we have had a paradigm shift in how we operate, as we are now teaching and learning and working remotely.  Everyone has been asked to make significant sacrifices and I could not be more proud of how the UofL community has responded with resiliency and compassion.

  • Our students have adapted to online learning and are on track for completing their credits this semester, while facing significant challenges in their communities around the world.
  • Our faculty have successfully transitioned to online teaching and have responded to their students’ needs with kindness.
  • Our staff, whether working from home or on campus, continues to work hard, despite many having to balance childcare or homecare for high-risk family members.  Our business operations and student services teams are highly-functioning, our facilities units are monitoring building usage and upkeep and our campus safety department has ramped up patrols.
  • Our researchers and engineers are working around the clock to help our city handle the myriad of logistical challenges as a result of COVID-19.
  • Our doctors and medical staff at UofL Health are working—at great risk to themselves—to treat the sick and to prevent further spread.
  • Our students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters around the world have stepped up in their communities in various ways to do their part to support the most vulnerable and to help their neighbors.

To all of you, near and far, I offer my heartfelt and sincere gratitude.

As I have been engaging with university presidents and leaders across the country, it has become apparent that our transition to remote learning and our response to the crisis at hand have been smoother and faster than those of many of our peers.  In some cases, our teams have advised other institutions on how to successfully implement many of the changes that we have implemented.

Why were we able to transition so seamlessly when others struggled?  Why have we been able to harness our resources, ingenuity and compassion more so than most?  The answer is easy: YOU.  You continue to demonstrate our Cardinal Principles of community of care, agility and leadership so boldly during this global health crisis.  Your actions and teamwork and commitment to our shared goal of being a great place to learn, work and invest has never been more meaningful, needed and recognized.  When people ask me, “How is UofL holding up?” I’m proud to respond that we are fine and will be fine, because of our people.

The pandemic has impacted everyone in some way, but it has impacted some more than others.  To any of you who are struggling financially right now, please know that we are here for you in whatever ways we can be.  For those of you with the ability to give, you can help our students and colleagues meet vital financial needs by contributing to the Louis and Louise W. Weisser Bornwasser Student Emergency Fund or our SHARE program for staff.  In addition, we are mindful of the importance of your mental health at this time. If you find yourself feeling anxious or overwhelmed, resources are available

UofL is open and operational, because for many of our students, we are their only home and for many of our employees, we are their livelihoods.  While the majority of our team is working remotely, there are still employees who must work on campus and I want to extend my gratitude to those individuals in physical plant, custodial, housing, dining and more who have kept things running.  I also want to thank our partners, including Aramark, Follett and Canon, for continuing to provide services to our on-campus students, faculty and staff.

As we learn more about the virus and its effects on individuals and society as a whole, we will continue to adapt.  We do not know what lies ahead. But I can promise you this: together, we will continue to carry out the mission of our university. We will continue to offer an outstanding education to our students. We will continue to conduct leading-edge research. We will continue to provide high-quality health care to the patients in the UofL Health system. And we will continue to serve our community through partnerships and programs.  Whether remotely or in-person, our UofL family will continue to fulfill its vital role in the city, commonwealth and in the lives of our community.

Please take care of yourselves during this time. This means following the guidelines for social distancing, hand washing and other preventative measures. As always, be sure to check our UofL COVID-19 webpage for the most up-to-date information on our responses to this crisis.

Again, I want to thank each and every one of you for the sacrifices and contributions you continue to make on a daily basis. I am so proud to be part of the UofL Family.

Go Cards!

Neeli