Every year, one of my most cherished moments is the honor of presiding over Commencement for our graduating seniors. IMSA’s graduation with its “pomp and circumstance” is a fitting ceremony symbolizing our seniors’ completion meeting graduation requirements at IMSA. But as we have all seen, the rapid spread of COVID-19 has changed nearly everything. Incidentally, the formal name for the virus is SARS-CoV-2, (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2).
Because of the continuing public health threat posed by COVID-19, we have decided to cancel the in-person commencement ceremonies scheduled for May 30, 2020, at the NIU Convocation Center. Instead, we are planning on a live-stream IMSA commencement to include our traditional speeches by students, commencement speaker, previously announced, and written program. We will provide additional information closer to the date.
We are also hoping that we can have a face to face celebration. We have been working with the Senior Class Club (and consulted with the Student Council) on ideas and alternative ways to celebrate. They have indicated a preference for bringing the seniors together over the summer for bonding time, a senior weekend with some of the favorite senior traditions, a dance, a Six Flags Great America trip, a bagel party, watching the sunrise, or a trip to the Main Event.
I invite your input into how and when we mark this milestone. Please share with us your thoughts on alternative and innovative ways to recognize this occasion, vibrantly and safely, by e-mailing me at
. Please know that we will honor the success of our senior class every way we can and keep us safe.
Update on Student Fee Refunds and Student Emergency Relief Fund
In my March 26, 2020, IMSA President Coronavirus Update, I shared with you that we will be prorating student fees to reflect the reduced extracurricular offerings as a result of our campus closure. All credits have been applied to MySchoolBucks accounts for those families who enrolled in payment plans. Refund checks for fees that were paid in full will be issued on or before May 31, 2020. For questions about the status of your student fees, please contact Ann Donohue at 630-907-5585.
I have received e-mails from parents concerning their desire to redirect their refund to the
Student Emergency Relief Fund
. This fund is designed to lend a helping hand to our student families who are struggling to pay for essential expenses as well as access to technology for remote learning. If you wish to donate your refund to the IMSA Student Emergency Relief Fund, please complete the
donation consent form
by April 17. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. You will receive an acknowledgment letter for your records.
For families who wish to apply for emergency funds from this effort, please complete the
Resident Counselor Remote Student Engagement
In these uncertain and challenging times for our students, our Resident Counselors have been working creatively to stay connected and support our amazing students while they are at home adapting to their “new normal.” Some are having discussions through YouTube live chat; others are hosting small group chats via Facebook Messenger and Facebook Live. A few examples of the fun activities RCs are sharing with their students include making an Affirmation Board (Positive reminders to raise self-esteem and promote self-care), live streaming video games for group play, painting, bingo, workout videos, yoga, learning how to play the ukulele, and even belly dancing!
I asked each of my Cabinet members to take a “work from home selfie” to share with the IMSA community to lift spirits and keep the IMSA community culture intact. Along with the selfie, each Cabinet member also shared their tips for staying positive and productive as our community transitions to remote working as the new normal. Enjoy my
We want to offer this opportunity to our entire community. Please take a selfie and share your tips for staying positive with us. Send your selfie to
IMSA Donates PPE to Mercy Hospital
While much of the IMSA campus is quiet, members of our facilities team have been busy collecting and sorting hundreds of excess, unopened Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from across campus. We expect to deliver our PPE donations, including goggles, vinyl and nitrile gloves, isopropyl and ethyl alcohol tomorrow to Mercy Hospital in Aurora.
Let's be the ones who stay away to save the rest.
José M. Torres, Ph.D.