An Important Message from President Hallick

Dear Students, Families, Faculty & Staff,

It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing new adjustments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The impact of this pandemic is touching every aspect of our lives, and the situation is changing rapidly.

Oregon, like many states, is taking measures to encourage social distancing and to try to slow the spread of this disease.

It is likely that more will come, and we will be dealing with this reality for weeks and even months to come.

Here at Pacific, we are already transitioning to online courses for the remainder of the spring semester. (Find details of your program’s schedule.)

Today, I am sorry to announce that we will not be able to hold the traditional May Commencement Ceremonies we all love so much. It would simply put too many people in close proximity to one another. It is also possible that we will have to cancel our August Commencement, but more to come on that a little closer to the event. 

We will, however, celebrate our graduates in innovative ways both this spring and in the future. We are already planning a virtual graduation ceremony, and we invite students who plan to graduate in May to complete this form — share your photo, your guest list, and your latest contact information so we can include you.

We also invite all of this year’s spring graduates to return next year, when we will plan a special event to honor your accomplishments.

We also have determined that, for most students, it may be in your best interests to leave campus and go home for the balance of the spring term. We are offering residential students who head home this month a choice of a refund or a somewhat larger credit against next year. (Find discount details, and be sure to enter the housing lottery by March 25 for when you return in the fall.)

For other students, Pacific is home, and we will continue to be here to help you. We are adjusting our campus services, including dining and residences, to accommodate a smaller population and to allow for safe living and working. We will also need to follow public health guidance for transmission and possible self-quarantines. (Find details of campus services.)

Everything about this situation is heartbreaking, and we are not making any decisions lightly. This is a time of great stress and uncertainty, and I thank all of our employees for their dedication to students, as well as our students and families for their trust and patience.

Pacific has seen hard days before. During World War II, our campus was almost empty, as so many young men were drafted to go off to war. Those students who stayed behind consolidated into tighter residence hall spaces, subsisted on rations, and lived with fear for their loved ones. They later remembered stress from their college days, but also laughter, friendship, and the bonds that form most tightly in strife.

And Pacific, in the midst of the final days of the war, launched the College of Optometry, our first health professions program and the foundation of all the graduate programs that have grown since.

Like then, Pacific will emerge from these times strong. We look forward to the day when we can welcome you back for small classes with caring professors, hugs from friends, and a vibrant campus life full of clubs and sports, service and celebrations.

Today, though, I hope you will join me in modeling care for yourself and for our community. Help us fight this pandemic by following CDC guidelines for social distancing and good hygiene. And, please, hold true to the Boxer Spirit with kindness and care for one another. 

Warmest Regards,

Lesley M. Hallick

Thursday, March 19, 2020