News: Personal Note from President Sweeting

President Sweeting's Note to Students and Parents

Dear Students and Parents:

We are all experiencing a swirl of emotions this week as we take in and respond to an unexpected, extraordinary turn of events.

This moment is unprecedented in CCU's history and in the history of higher education in the United States. With little warning, the coronavirus pandemic has upended world health, business and commerce, higher education, and our own personal lives.

Most of all, our hearts go out to those who have this virus and to those who have lost loved ones. I urge you to pray for the caregivers, the medical staff, and health professionals on the front lines. And don't forget to uphold our nation's leaders who are trying to protect people all over this land. Also pray for those who are working to develop a vaccine that will be effective against this virus.

As I walked around campus yesterday talking to students, I noticed a mix of grief and confusion in your voices. I want you to know how badly I feel that we have had to radically alter the second half of your semester. I hope you know that the actions we have taken are done not only with your interests in mind, but also the interests of the wider community in order to prevent the virus from spreading. We are responding as best we can to wider events. As I often say, we may control the thermostat in our house, but we do not control the atmosphere or the weather system. We can only respond. And we have done our best to respond wisely, trying to be good stewards of the Lord's university.

These changes have come at considerable personal cost to all of us, and I want to acknowledge that. I am especially sorry for our seniors, because this is not how you imagined your last semester at CCU would end. I also feel badly for musicians who did not get to give their senior recitals, for athletes whose season was cancelled, and all the others who have experienced disappointment.

To all of you: we love you, and will try to support you in any way we can as we all adjust to these new circumstances. Jim McCormick and his team in the Office of Student Life stand ready to help you with all the transitions. Our faculty also will be supportive as we shift to a different format of course delivery for the second half of the semester. We will keep you posted about CCU news updates and Commencement plans as we get nearer to May.

When you return home and take up an online format, I encourage you to do two things. First, remember your primary calling at this time is still to be a student. So apply yourself to working hard and finishing the semester well. Second, see the opportunity in this very different format. In your future, you will have to get friendly with online education. You might as well start now; it will only strengthen your skill set and help you become a life-long learner.

As I walked around campus yesterday, along with the sadness and perplexity, I also noticed something else in your comments. I was so appreciative of all those who said you were praying for me and for CCU as we go through this unusual season. Thank you. I noticed a wonderful resiliency and faith in your words. Many of you said that you knew that the Lord was in charge. Several of you said, "what a fitting end to our year of evangelism. The Lord is sending us out to put into practice all that we have learned. And with the current insecurity that many are feeling, people may actually be more open to hearing the good news of the gospel." What a great perspective!

In the Christian calendar, the season of Lent reminds us how fragile we are and that we are not in control. We are finite and mortal. But Lent is followed by Holy Week and Easter which remind us of God's redemptive work in Jesus, His glorious atonement for our sin, and the power of His resurrection. It is my prayer that this gospel hope will sustain you for the weeks and months ahead.

In fact, I can't wait for those days when we can all look back on this extraordinary season with a sense of thanksgiving for the unexpected good that comes out of it.

And I especially look forward to seeing many of you back here next fall for a new academic year.

I am so grateful to be your president.

Yours in His Service,

Dr. Donald W. Sweeting