Expressing gratitude for the UAlbany family

November 24, 2020

Dear UAlbany Community:

As we come to the end of the fall semester, I believe we would all agree that 2020 was truly an extraordinary, difficult, and, in many respects, a transformational year. The intersection of a contentious national election with the national reckoning on race and ongoing challenges to our democratic values—combined with a global pandemic—presents a very challenging state of affairs.

Under these unprecedented circumstances, it is not difficult to see why some would feel pessimistic and question where we are heading as a nation and as institutions of higher education. However, when we put these circumstances in the context of our responses to these events, we can develop a vision for the future that is hopeful, promising, and inspiring.

In the case of UAlbany, this sense of optimism is manifested whether we focus on our community members manufacturing face shields for regional healthcare providers; supporting our Student Emergency Fund, the Purple Pantry, and Purple Threads; faculty, staff, and students coming together to deliver food, transportation, and other services to our students in quarantine or isolation; developing robust surveillance testing; or engaging in important and innovative research focused on COVID-19, including its disproportionate impacts on communities of color.

While there are many obstacles that we must overcome collectively, these examples also put at the forefront the altruistic nature of our communities. They remind us that even in the most difficult of times we are a giving, caring, and loving community that wants to make our world a better and safer place to live and learn. They also show how UAlbany can become a beacon of hope—and take a leading role for the betterment of society. This is our true and enduring humanity. This is what should define us as Great Danes and as One UAlbany.

This coming holiday season will also provide an opportunity to count our blessings. As for Rosy and me, we feel fortunate to be part of a campus community that has responded to COVID-19 with creativity, innovation, and compassion. We have so many reasons to be grateful—including our collective efforts to curb the spread of the virus. We are inspired and thankful to our faculty, staff, and students who have volunteered and provided their time, support, and needed services to our internal and external communities, and we are grateful to our friends and alumni who continue to support our students in so many different ways.

Please remember that as the holiday season approaches, we need to continue to be vigilant and protect our health and that of our loved ones and  community members. Wherever you are spending your holidays, please continue to wear your mask, practice physical distancing, avoid large gatherings, and wash your hands frequently.

However, let us also allow ourselves to feel the warmth and joy of optimism—knowing that we will build on what we have learned over the past nine months to create a stronger and more resilient institution, and an even more successful Spring 2021.

Rosy and I wish you and your loved ones a safe, healthy, and enjoyable holiday season—and I certainly look forward to our continued collaborations in the new year.

Once again, ¡muchísimas gracias!

With great respect and admiration,


Havidán Rodríguez