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May 6, 2021

Dear Fredonia Community,

Today is Thursday and it’s time to connect with you through my weekly update.  I hope your week is going well.

COVID-19 Cases
The campus COVID-19 numbers have dropped considerably since our peak of 54 on April 1.  Last week we were at eight positive cases.  As of today, we have two active cases among students.  Again, while even a single positive case is a reason to be concerned, I want to acknowledge the work that everyone has put in to keep our numbers low.  Pure determination!

Here is another milestone I want to share with you.  As of this week, we passed 30,000 surveillance tests on campus this semester.  This is remarkable!  

Finish Line Is In Sight For AY 20-21
How did reading that heading make you feel?  Think back to when this academic year started last August. What were your thoughts then, and what are your thoughts now that we are in the final week of the academic year?  I am sure you will agree that we have had an incredible experience navigating COVID-19 and everything else to have a successful academic year.  Let me be honest with you.  I feel somewhat emotional as I reflect on our journey together since August 2020.  

As I write this weekly update from my office in Fenton Hall, I am thinking about our campus community and all that everyone did to get us here.  With only one more week to go, I think it is safe to say that we made it.  I wish the English language had, perhaps, a more impactful phrase for expressing one’s deepest gratitude than “thank you.” So, my fellow Fredonians, I thank you – faculty, students, staff, supporters near and far, and well-wishers—for what you did to get us here.

Visit By Trustees
On Monday, May 3, I was honored to host a visit by the Chair of the SUNY Board of Trustees, Merryl H. Tisch and Co-chair of the Student Life Committee of the SUNY Board of Trustees, Eunice A. Lewin.  While here, they met with student leaders and University Senate leaders and discussed a wide range of topics with each group.  Both dignitaries left the campus with expressions of thanks to the faculty and staff for all their work, especially during this COVID-19 period.  As I expected, they were impressed by our students and the beauty of the Fredonia campus. “Yes, it was a successful visit!”


        (From L to R: Trustee Lewin, President Kolison, and Chair Tisch)

Graduating Class of 2021
I am dedicating this update to the SUNY Fredonia graduating class of 2021.  Why?  My first job after earning my bachelor’s degree was a combined Research and Teaching Assistantship (RA/TA). I remember it like it was yesterday. I spent a year working in the area of forest pathology (diseases of trees).  In that role, I helped students with laboratory exercises and special projects.  If I include that one year, then my career journey in higher education has spanned 32 years. During that time, I have seen, taught and interacted with many students from a wide range of backgrounds. I am happy to say that my experiences with students from my year as an RA/TA to now have been very satisfying.  So, what is special about this Fredonia graduating class of 2021 that is causing me to recognize them in this special way?  Their resilience and fortitude are extraordinary.

So who are the members of the graduating class of 2021?  They are 917 FREDstrong students.  They come from 13 states and seven countries.  Ninety-three are receiving master’s degrees, and 824 are receiving bachelor’s degrees.  Among these graduates are many who achieved various awards of distinction, including Latin honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude).  

At the beginning of the academic year, the view for the completion of their degrees this semester may have appeared cloudy by the COVID-19 fog of uncertainty.  Nevertheless, they remained focused and determined to obtain their degrees - resilience and fortitude.  

Their abilities to adapt have been impressive. They have developed extraordinary tools to navigate vicissitudes of life that can easily cause derailments. For these and many more reasons, I am proud of them. I celebrate them and I congratulate them. I am thrilled to have been a small part of their journey here at SUNY Fredonia. Graduating class of 2021, you made us all proud. You are FredHeroes. I wish you great success for the next stage of your journey.  

That is what I have for you this week.  I will be in touch for the final update this semester next Thursday.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Very truly yours,

Dr. K.
Stephen H. Kolison, Jr., Ph.D.
President and Professor

Dr. Stephen H. Kolison, Jr., President

  • 138 Fenton Hall State University of New York at Fredonia Fredonia, NY 14063

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