Denison is defined by the people who come here, the relationships we form, and the ways those relationships shape lives. We do this by immersing ourselves in a liberal arts environment that is about rising to challenges, adapting to change, engaging in critical inquiry and creative thinking, and connecting people and ideas.
This fall, we had to lean into these liberal arts attributes as we confronted unprecedented challenges presented by COVID. We did so with remarkable success. Every student was given the choice to return to campus or to study remotely. We welcomed about 1,850 to campus, while another 350 studied remotely. Faculty taught courses in a variety of ways. Some taught in classrooms, some remotely and many in a hybrid format. We put tents around campus as outdoor classrooms and meeting spaces.
Athletic teams practiced and played intersquad games. The arts found ways to perform and showcase work. Student organizations found creative ways to engage. Social life happened in new ways and places. The semester was challenging and exhausting, but there was also something special in the way our students showed up committed to making it work, and the amazing ways our faculty and staff leaned into the semester with a full commitment to our students and their education.
Throughout the semester, we had fewer than 20 student COVID cases on campus, and we went weeks with no reported cases. When students left a few weeks ago, you could feel a sense of Denison pride across campus.
One of the ways we leaned into the challenges of COVID was by increasing communications. We redoubled our efforts to keep students, families, faculty, staff, and alumni informed. We also made quick pivots to increase digital engagement with prospective students who were limited in their ability to visit campus. We are now doing the same as we prepare for the second semester and a challenging student recruitment year. We are highly focused on giving high school students who can’t visit campus a sense for what it means to be a Denisonian.
All of this has placed pressure on our resources, especially the time of our communications team. To be blunt and honest, we were communicating so much with the campus community that we ran short on the time needed to put together the print version of the magazine. Rather than delay the print version into the new year, we decided to run this edition as solely an online version. We will resume a print version in the spring.
But, we also decided to take advantage of the moment and make some much needed and long overdue changes to the Denison Magazine web experience to bring it closer to the award-winning print version. The new Denison Magazine website is easier to read, simpler to navigate and intuitive to search. Thanks to all the alumni who have encouraged us to make these changes. Please let us know what you think. You can share comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our plan is to post all future editions of the magazine on this new site, while also mailing print versions. Every article, the beloved Class Notes, and all the other content that makes Denison Magazine such a great read will be available to you here. Plus, we’ll be able to offer supplemental content that you won’t be able to find in the print edition like videos, extended interviews, podcasts, and more.
This edition of Denison Magazine is dedicated to telling the stories of and celebrating the Denisonian spirit we felt so strongly on campus this fall. We’ve captured so many incredible examples—from the dedicated and brilliant work of our faculty and staff, to the resilience and commitment of our students, to the kindness and ingenuity of our alumni.
I want to end with a personal reflection. While fall semester was challenging, it also reinforced my belief in the liberal arts and my passion for this great college. I am proud to be a Denisonian. And I am grateful to all of our alumni who support the college.