Board Meeting Update, Virtual Commencement Plans (May 4, 2020)

Dear Millsaps students, faculty and staff,

The Board of Trustees met this past Thursday and Friday and, in addition to regular agenda items, issued the following statement:

"The Board of Trustees of Millsaps College extends its sincerest appreciation to the college's administration, faculty and staff for their amazing work—and its thanks to our students for their flexibility and patience—during this most challenging and disruptive of times. As the country looks toward a brighter but still uncertain future, we expect that students will return to campus for a residential experience beginning in August, and we fully support the efforts of the college to safely reach that objective. We express our thanks to all in our extended community for their support of our students during this difficult time, and look forward to gathering together in fellowship in the near future."

I am deeply grateful for the dedication and support of our Board of Trustees. The board's virtual meeting went well with participation by 37 of 40 current trustees and two life trustees. During the meeting the Board reviewed financial affairs, discussed preparation for the college's SACSCOC reaffirmation in 2022 and heard reports from all areas of the college related to our response to COVID-19.

Special thanks to Susan Womack, associate vice president of advancement and information technology operations; and Scott McNamee, director of Information Technology Services, as well as the entire IT department for their extraordinary support with the board meeting and in all other areas related to technology in the present circumstances.

What is traditionally both a stressful week of completing final exams is also one of anticipation and celebration, as we would normally look toward joining one another in the Bowl to celebrate the best of Millsap—our graduating seniors who are prepared to leave our campus and improve our world.

So, this year we will bring graduation to you. On Saturday morning, May 9, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. CDT we will host a virtual commencement ceremony in the Bowl, which will be broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube. Many of the annual presentations will be made, the alma mater will be sung…but most importantly the names of our graduates will be read and recorded. Look for more information as this week progresses.

Over the next few weeks the efforts of our faculty and staff will be devoted toward our expectation that our students will return for a residential experience in August. Although COVID-19 continues to modify our lifestyles, we are working through a variety of plans and contingencies to enable us to work toward what will be our new normal, at least for now. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff will be foremost in our minds as these plans develop. We will continue to update the community on a regular basis with regard to our plans.

It is with my extreme gratitude that as we close this most difficult semester, I relay the Board's sincere thanks for how all of you have come together and managed these challenging and also inspiring days. Thank you for your great contributions, and please join me this Saturday—virtually—to celebrate our Class of 2020.

Best wishes,

Rob Pearigen
President