May 16, 2020
Message From the President: No Ordinary Time

Emmanuel College honors the Class of 2020—the first to graduate in Emmanuel’s second century, highlights some of what was achieved in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and shares insights on what lies ahead.

Dear Members of the Emmanuel College Community,

During Emmanuel’s Centennial Celebration in 2019, we reflected on periods when the College adapted and thrived in the face of external challenges. We had little inkling then that, just months into our second century, we would be called to demonstrate that same spirit of creativity. For all the ways you have risen to the unprecedented demands of the past two months, you have my profound gratitude. As we conclude this historic semester, I would like to highlight some of what we have achieved in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic and share insights on what may lie ahead.

An Extraordinary Eight Weeks

Our rapid transition to online classes is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of our faculty, the resilience of our students, and the foresight of our investments in technology in recent years. I know that, for many of you, this shift presented particular challenges, and I have been pleased to see our staff providing ongoing support in areas ranging from information technology to counseling and health. I commend all of you for persevering amid circumstances that were scarcely conceivable when we launched the spring semester in January.

I am inspired by the successes we have seen during this period of virtual teaching and learning. In just the past few weeks, Emmanuel students were selected for prestigious Fulbright, Goldwater, Truman and Boren scholarships. Additionally, 60 senior candidates for distinction in the field presented their research and scholarship, while others made capstone presentations in a variety of disciplines. Meanwhile, students engaged remotely in annual traditions such as our Leadership Awards and Moonlight Breakfast.

As part of Emmanuel’s ongoing commitment to the wider community, we have offered assistance and vital supplies to neighboring hospitals. Moreover, Emmanuel graduates across the country, working in a variety of professional and volunteer roles, have come to the aid of people suffering as a result of COVID-19, while offering words of encouragement and support for our students and for one another. The unity of our community has never been stronger.

Honoring the Class of 2020 on May 16th

We remain committed to honoring the Class of 2020—the first to graduate in Emmanuel’s second century—with a traditional in-person Commencement ceremony, and we look forward to the day when we can gather on campus for this joyous occasion. While our 98th Commencement Exercises will not take place this Saturday as originally planned, we recognize that May 16th is a date that holds special significance for our seniors and their families. In honor of this milestone, we are sharing tributes, including a special congratulatory video that we will post on social media on May 16th. I invite all of you to view and share the video and join in celebrating the great Emmanuel College Class of 2020.

Planning for the Fall

From the onset of the pandemic, we have been thinking carefully and strategically about the future. Our discussions are rooted in a singular conviction: it is vital that we as a community return as soon as possible to our campus in the heart of Boston. That is why we are engaging directly with state and city authorities and health agencies and developing contingency plans for the reopening of the College. We anticipate even greater clarity in the coming weeks with respect to the COVID-19 testing and distancing protocols that will be required of organizations moving forward. We will continue to update you as this official guidance is made available, and our plans for the fall come into sharper focus.

Our decision to convene fall classes on campus or online will be driven above all by our commitment to safeguarding the health and well-being of all members of our community. Whatever form our College life takes, we will keep the mainstays of an Emmanuel education strong, including our distinguished and dedicated faculty, our close and supportive community, and our commitment to equipping students for success in a world that is changing before our eyes. These are constants.

As we head into the summer months, I want to remind all students, particularly graduating seniors, that the Career Center remains open and committed to supporting you in every aspect of your career development and planning. Career Advisors are available for virtual appointments to provide assistance in navigating the current marketplace. For more information, please visit

I know that, together, we will see our way through this challenging time. Now and in the months to come, may Emmanuel, our God with us, continue to bless you, your families and our College community.

Sister Janet Eisner, SNDdeN


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