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It is often said that you can gauge the strength of a community by how it comes together in a crisis. If that is true, then the University of St. Thomas has never been stronger. From the heart of our campus to the far corners of the earth, UST faculty, staff, students and alumni have stood tall in the face of this pandemic and demonstrated the character and resolve that are hallmarks of our great Catholic university.

It was way back in February when we started to prepare. As many wondered whether the virus would even reach Houston, our Emergency Task Force, helmed by Chief H.E. Jenkins, took swift and decisive action to protect our Celt family. Seemingly overnight, work and study began from home. Our Montrose campus fell silent, but the Spirit of St. Thomas did not.

In the empty recesses of the Center for Science and Health Professions, the 3D printers hummed as faculty members worked tirelessly to produce masks and face shields for our frontline workers.

The recently vacated residence halls quickly sprung back to life with nurses from nearby hospitals who needed a place to lay their heads after long shifts, so they didn’t risk infecting their families. As Easter passed, alumni and friends of UST came together to provide meals for them.

Just a few miles down the road at the Texas Medical Center, graduates from University of St. Thomas were busy helping the sick, while one of UST’s adjunct professors made headlines for her involvement in a revolutionary new COVID-19 plasma therapy.

As the world’s attention was focused on the front lines, behind the scenes our students soldiered on. They are the unsung heroes of this pandemic. In the face of unprecedented adversity, they have risen. In a world ravaged by record unemployment, they have persisted. Challenged by an uncertain future, they are returning to school this fall.

Much of that is due in large part to you. Over the last few months, their challenges have been met with great generosity, and UST has granted much hardship assistance, but the need is even greater. Our message to the community has been clear: If you need help we are here for you; if you can help — our students need you. Thank you for making their education possible.

Heroes are truly everywhere you look at UST, many right here in the pages of this magazine. Forgive me for not being able to recognize them all, and join me in thanking and honoring the difficult work they continue to do.

As we look toward reopening our campus this fall, there is much uncertainty, but I can say with complete confidence that UST will stand tall no matter what comes our way. We will continue to produce the kinds of leaders this world needs now more than ever.

About the Author — Richard Ludwick

Richard L. Ludwick became the 9th president of the University of St. Thomas on July 1, 2017. He previously served as president of the Independent Colleges of Indiana, the nation’s oldest association of 31 private, nonprofit colleges and universities enrolling more than 100,000 students. In that capacity, he led strategic initiatives in public policy at the state and federal levels, spurred innovative, intercollegiate collaborations, and successfully executed multi-million dollar philanthropic campaigns.

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