Responsible Raiders

President Greg Christy


On Feb. 6, 2020, I sent my first email to the campus informing them of a coronavirus global health emergency and assuring them the college’s pandemic planning had begun. What an unchartered time it has been since, affecting nearly every facet of our lives!

I encouraged all faculty and staff who could to work remotely during the months of April and May. In June, we gradually returned to campus offices. Thanks to our academic affairs, campus ministry, registrar’s and AV offices, we hosted our first-ever outdoor combined commencement, baccalaureate and academic honors ceremony in July. It was worth the wait to celebrate with graduates and their loved ones in person.

Throughout the summer, we made plans for opening the fall semester with in-person undergraduate classes and full co-curricular activities. It would be impossible to name everyone who played a part in this achievement. Our faculty prepared every class for both in-person and online instruction, knowing we would have positive cases disrupting life daily. Our maintenance team worked to ensure that every classroom would have desks six feet apart, converted three larger “all-purpose” spaces into classrooms, and added extra hand-sanitizer stations all over campus.

Campus ministry was innovative and our athletic department flexible as we converted the four-court area of the Rowenhorst Student Center into chapel space for the first half of the fall semester. Student life staff put together excellent plans for how to care for students in isolation and quarantine, even delivering meals to students. And our computing services team developed a Raider Check app that helps us manage students with symptoms or positive COVID tests.

At least monthly during the summer, members of my cabinet and I held livestreams for students, families and employees, sharing information as our plan for 2020–21 developed. In addition to the cabinet, our Pandemic Response Team and medical responders have worked tirelessly all year.

I am so grateful for our faculty, staff and administrators and the sacrificial service they’ve displayed. Our people are our greatest strength, and that has never been more evident than during the pandemic.

From the beginning, we asked students to be Responsible Raiders—completing the Raider Check daily, maintaining physical distance whenever possible, and wearing masks in the caf, chapel, class and common spaces. It has been an inconvenience to be sure, but our students so value Northwestern’s community they have done everything and more we have asked of them.

At Northwestern we believe excellence honors God and serves others. I’ve been encouraged to see members of our community demonstrate that excellence in the love and care they’ve shown for one another this year. It’s another example of how Raiders stand out.

Greg Christy

Greg Christy

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