Dear Siena community,
“Peace and good!”
It is with great joy and sense of renewal and optimism that I greet the entire Siena College community on this first day of the 2021-22 academic year with those three simple words of Francis of Assisi.
I want to congratulate our Saints for achieving a vaccination rate of nearly 99 percent, so that we can begin this year on safe and healthy footing. Because of your respect for the science of inoculation and your desire to protect your fellow Saints, we will be able to have the most fully immersive, in-person campus experience possible.
I recognize that we are all emerging from 18 months of challenge and turmoil. Some of us have lost loved ones to the pandemic or were ill ourselves, and all of us have experienced tremendous disruption to our daily lives in the classroom, in the office and in our homes. Sacrifices were made in abundance in the name of safety, and with that came a cost to our person-centered student experience and our mental health. With the vaccine, we are now in a strong place to achieve our top priorities: health and safety, and a transformative student experience.
As we gather now on campus to provide and receive The Education for a Lifetime, let us carry forward the accomplishments we forged during the time of crisis: our strengthened sense of community; advances in technology, operations and pedagogy; and a renewed commitment to Siena’s Franciscan mission.
For our incoming Saints, we hope you have enjoyed and found helpful the initial phases of the First Year Experience Program (there is more to come) designed to heartily welcome you to Siena and smooth your transition to college life. You’ll be joining our returning students who share your excitement for the year to come. We are all here to support one another in this journey. As life-long learners, make it a goal to meet someone new and try something different every day!
I’m very proud of what we have all achieved together over the past months. I am grateful for your hard work and your embrace of the ideals on which Siena was founded. Because of that, we are together now on campus: in person, at full capacity in our classrooms, labs and dining areas, with a full array of activities and athletics that will offer the richest Siena experience possible. God’s peace and good, was, and is, fully present in all of creation. Let’s be present and thankful for this moment and make the most of it.
Best wishes to all of you for a successful, engaging and healthy academic year.
Christopher P. Gibson '86, Ph.D.