Dear Bellarmine Seniors (soon to be alumni/ae),
A week ago, we sent the announcement to the campus regarding the suspension of classes and the move to online course delivery. COVID-19 is in full swing and continues at a rapid pace here in Louisville and across our country. It has been overwhelming, and yet, we see such courage and commitment from so many in our great city and in this great land. I take pride in knowing that so many of our Knights are assisting in the recovery during this crisis and I trust that all of you will continue in this work as you move into your careers.
This letter is really for three purposes: to thank you, to apologize, and to provide hope for our future together. First, let me thank you for the opportunity to get to know you, to see you on the quad, in the dining hall, in the Black Box Theatre, in Cralle, in Knights Hall, Pasteur, in the library, in the science labs, in Clayton Hall, the art gallery, in the stadium, on the fields, the diamonds, the pool, the SuRF, in Centro, in Café Ogle, the chapel, and in the atrium.
YOU have been in all of these special places, among others, and YOU have made them special. YOU have filled our campus with so many great memories, with laughter, with fun orientation games, with leadership, with academic achievement and honors, and with such a strong and authentic sense of community. This is the biggest loss, but also the greatest achievement. Communities like this do not happen everywhere.
This is why this hurts so much. Our work was not complete; our treasured time, your treasured time was cut too short and so abruptly. I apologize for that. This was not our plan, and the past few days have certainly been the most challenging times of my presidency. YOU deserved better than this.
I know that my communication on St. Patrick’s Day was devastating, but I am hopeful and determined that we will provide a wonderful commencement weekend for all of you. I also know that you are a great and resilient class. You persist and achieve, and that is your mark on Bellarmine. I have faith that you will continue to do just that, and to lead other students in doing the same. I have met many members of historic Bellarmine classes in the past couple of years, and I know that your class will be among our greatest.
Yesterday morning I met with the Bellarmine Society online and they shared valuable feedback on future commencement events. I hope to have an announcement this week about a final date. We will work with you to make it special and memorable.
My prayers are with you for your classes, your transition, and your health. I want only the best for you and I hope you continue to believe in Bellarmine as I do.
In Veritatis Amore,
Susan M. Donovan, Ph.D.
President, Bellarmine University