Dear TCU Community,
Welcome to a new semester, a new academic year, and to new life experiences for each one of us at Texas Christian University. I invite you to watch a Welcome Home video.
Our campus now has a vibrancy that we have all been anticipating since last March. Move-in week has its own special energy, and meeting new students along with their families brightens every day. However, it’s much more than that. Our on-campus Horned Frog experience is certainly unparalleled. But last semester taught us that we can - and will - thrive under all circumstances. We can operate with the highest safety standards in person, while we engage with our friends, peers, mentors and community virtually. For those who chose to engage, work and learn virtually, our connection is meaningful and challenges us to continue to innovate our experience.
Last year, this message began with “I look forward to seeing what will unfold for our community in the months to come.” And I say that again, even knowing what the past few months have brought us. Since March, our community of faculty, staff, students and families have managed a momentous event that continues to define our days, and shape our decisions. It has not been a simple path and I expect we will continue to live with the disruption and cognitive whiplash of our current pandemic circumstances.
Some of us have experienced challenges with mental health, social unrest and the effects of being isolated far too long. And even worse, great personal loss. Just this weekend, TCU lost a beloved faculty member, Dr. Robert Rhodes. He was a celebrated scholar, mentor and friend to all he touched in his 36-year career at TCU. I ask that any student or employee who needs to connect with counseling and support services, please utilize resources we have devoted to emotional well-being during such a stressful time.
Our mission to educate ethical leaders here at TCU keeps us buoyed and focused on our goals of academic achievement, both personally and collectively in this global community. I invite you to watch our Opening Celebration – previously a faculty and staff event celebrating the start of a new year and announcing nominees and winners of two prestigious awards, the Chancellor’s Staff Award for Outstanding Service and the Michael R. Ferrari Award for Distinguished University Service and Leadership. We have so many wonderful scholars and leaders at TCU, please “meet” some of them virtually. I also introduce our three newest deans, AddRan College of Liberal Art’s Dr. Sonja Watson and Dr. Frank Hernandez, new dean of the College of Education, and long-time employee Ms. Tracy Hull as dean of the Mary Couts Burnett Library.
Safety for our community, Sustainability for our University and Justice for all on our campus remain my focus areas for this year. While safety and sustainability may be self-explanatory, I encourage you to read more about our newly announced Race and Reconciliation Initiative. I believe this, along with other important diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives on our campus, will help define and better our future. And if you want be inspired, see what our students are doing to End Racism on our campus and to benefit all.
There are too many stories to tell in one letter, but if you want to see Horned Frogs lead on, read this first-hand account of being a TCU student in New York when the pandemic erupted across the nation, by Honors College student Katie Kelton. Or how assistant professor of psychology Dr. Tracy Centanni is mapping the brain in hopes of identifying what puts children at risk for dyslexia and Ph.D. history student Cecilia Hill is reimagining curriculum design to accurately reflect the evolution of Texas. We are always proud of our alumni, like Landry Burdine ’99, who continue to set the example as successful and generous Horned Frogs. These and other stories of changing the world for the better can always be found in the TCU Magazine.
This fall, we plan to cheer on our dedicated student-athletes and athletics department, with a modified sports schedule that prioritizes the safety and health of our student-athletes, fans and TCU community. I’m proud of our student-athletes’ year-round commitment to TCU, and that we are taking a measured and responsible path forward for fall play. As in all things these days, we will rely on your loyalty and patience as we implement our plans and #ProtectThePurple.
In closing, I ask that we let what we have lost through the pandemic, encourage us to take special care of each other during these next few months – with a focus on personal health and on community well-being, while we progress academically and emotionally. And I hope that we will gain much more in return, as we encourage the actions that bring us together and connect us as a united Horned Frog family.
Victor J. Boschini, Jr.