I hope this message finds you and your families in good health. If the past two months have taught us anything, it’s that life offers no guarantees. Like everyone, I am sure many of your spring plans for celebrations and gatherings have evaporated into a cloud of troubling headlines, rules and restrictions, and a pervasive atmosphere of uncertainty.

Hopefully, the passage of time, and the precautions we are taking now, will ease some of our anxieties and restore a measure of predictability. And when that happens, I look forward to welcoming you as Illinois State University Redbirds, brimming with excitement about the next chapter in your lives.

Please know, we have every intention to begin the fall semester as a traditional residential campus, with students sitting in classes, living on campus and in adjacent off-campus apartments, joining student organizations, visiting the Student Fitness Center and Bone Student Center, and enjoying the fall beauty of our University Quad.

It is very likely that our return in the months ahead will call for additional precautions to protect your health, safety, and sense of well-being. As always, these are our top priorities, in partnership with providing you a life-changing educational experience.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected lives across the globe, and while Illinois has not been spared, I am encouraged that McLean County—where Illinois State is located—has some of the lowest rates of infection across the state and Midwest.

And while this pandemic has necessitated change and will continue to do so, Illinois State’s commitment to individualized attention remains as strong as ever.

Individualized attention means we will immerse you in learning and scholarship, foster your academic and personal growth, recognize your unique educational aspirations, and value your diverse dreams for a successful future.

As an immediate extension of that guarantee, I am offering you a special e-mail address, FutureRedbirds@IllinoisState.edu, for use during this period of uncertainty. If you or any family member has questions, please send them directly to this address and an Illinois State staff member will respond in a timely manner.

Students, there is nothing like the University experience, and we believe that very few schools in the entire country provide the kind of comprehensive experience offered by Illinois State University and the Town of Normal.

Make no mistake, we will get through these troubling times—and when we do, I know you will be as proud as I am to be a member of our Redbird community.