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DePauw’s Fall Planning and New Leadership Course May 8

Dear DePauw Students, Faculty and Staff, 

The end of the spring term has been difficult for everyone on multiple fronts, requiring us to change every aspect of our lives. What hasn’t changed is our longing to be back on campus with one another, which is a testament to the close-knit community we have built.    

This shared desire has been a driving factor during our comprehensive fall planning efforts the past few weeks. After careful consideration, we plan to begin the fall term in August, in person and on campus, with significant health and safety precautions implemented to protect the health of our students, staff, faculty and the broader community. 

Just as our liberal arts and sciences curriculum prepares students to face challenges in innovative ways, we will need to adapt how we live, learn and work together and remain agile so that plans can change as needed. Fortunately, our small residential community, emphasis on small class sizes, large campus footprint and new facilities -- including the newly opened Wellness Center -- afford us flexibility to maximize effective social distancing and other practices in and out of the classroom that other colleges may not have. Our idyllic location away from densely populated areas also works in our favor, along with our strong DePauw Health partnership with Hendricks Regional Health. 

We are building safeguards into our plans to minimize disruption and the possibility that students would have to leave campus partway through the fall term. We’ll share more details with you as those plans progress, but considerations include possible modifications to the timing of planned breaks, the academic calendar, class schedules, class locations and housing arrangements, including coordination with our partners in the Greek community and house corporations. We will expect students who choose to return to campus to adhere to safety and health precautions. Local, state and national health organization recommendations will continue to guide us, including those for restrictions on large gatherings and events. 

We realize that some students will not be able to travel back to campus or may not choose to do so. Accordingly, we are relaxing our residential requirement for the fall of 2020 and intend to fully support those students who do not return through a variety of remote learning options. Similarly, we are planning for staff and faculty to begin a gradual return to campus this summer and will make adjustments in business practices to enhance their health and safety, including support for working remotely.

All students – on or off campus – will have access to the full range of DePauw support services, including peer tutoring, library resources, advising, centers, co-curricular opportunities, career and professional preparation and student accessibility services. 

We are pleased to announce an especially exciting and relevant new leadership course for students – “Leadership and the Liberal Arts: In Crisis and Calm” – led by DePauw faculty and featuring world-class guest speakers, including prominent DePauw alumni. These leaders have agreed to participate:

  • Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. secretary of state.

  • Lori S. White, DePauw president-elect.

  • Brad Stevens ‘99, head coach of the Boston Celtics. 

  • Jim Alling ’83, former CEO of TOMS®.

  • Jeff Harmening ’89, CEO of General Mills.

  • James Stewart ’73, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist and author.

  • Erin O’Brien ’96, Mayo Clinic surgeon.

  • Jon Fortt ’98, CNBC co-anchor of “Squawk Alley.”

  • Elisa Villanueva Beard ’98, Teach for America CEO.

With support from DePauw’s Sanger Leadership Initiative, and aligned with DePauw’s vision of developing leaders the world needs, each student who completes the course will be eligible for a $1,000 Sanger Leadership Opportunity Grant to be applied toward an off-campus study, winter term, May term, research experience or internship -- all of which help students continue to forge their own leadership path -- during subsequent years at DePauw. The virtual course will be available to remote and in-residence learners, with priority given to first-year students and remaining slots offered to rising sophomores and juniors. 

As we look forward to the return of in-person classes, the remote learning experience of the past few weeks has taught us much. We have realized our capability of working together to respond and adapt quickly to an unprecedented challenge and have a newfound appreciation for DePauw’s personalized and relationship-based learning community.  

We, including President-elect White, are committed to providing the clearest path forward with the highest regard for the safety and health of our community, while remaining true to our mission-driven focus on students and academic excellence. 

As noted above, this is a rapidly changing situation that will require us to be agile and responsive to the ever-evolving COVID-19 outlook. You can expect more details from us early in June and throughout the summer.  


Dave Berque, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs
Alan Hill, Vice President for Student Academic Life and Dean of Students
Bob Leonard, Vice President for Finance and Administration