A Message from President Bob Caslen

April 7, 2020

Dear Gamecocks, 

I hope this issue of Inside Carolina finds you and your families safe and well.  You are such an important part of our Gamecock family, and your unwavering support during this challenging time continues to inspire our campus community as we work each day to create a sense of normalcy in this ever-changing environment.  No matter how far apart we may be from one another, our resilient spirit and genuine concern for others keep us determined and connected. 

Nowhere has that resilient spirit been more present than among our faculty.  From what we have observed thus far, our talented and devoted faculty have worked tirelessly to adapt their instruction into meaningful, virtual experiences without sacrificing academic excellence.  I could not be prouder of our students, who have remained committed to their classes and are taking advantage of the many academic support services that have been adapted to a virtual environment by talented and creative staff. 

Last week, after consulting with public health experts both on and off campus, we made the significant decision to continue remote instruction through the end of summer sessions (August 1).  From our own epidemiologists who are modeling the virus on our own campus environment, and using models prepared for the state and the nation, it was clear that allowing students, faculty, staff and visitors to return to campus this summer proved unacceptable.  We are now focused on the fall and are trying to understand what that will look like.  As much as we are looking forward to having our students and faculty back on campus, we will only do that when there is acceptable risk and when conditions are safe to do so. 

Many of you continue to ask how you can help those in our community who are most in need.  A significant number of our students are enduring financial hardship because of lost jobs and other unforeseen challenges due to this pandemic.  Heartfelt thanks to all of you who have contributed to the UofSC COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, which assists students with rent, technology expenses, tuition payments and other critical needs.

Because we are so close to meeting the original goal of $100,000, I’m excited to report that we have raised the fund goal to $200,000 in order to meet the growing number of student requests for assistance.   As of this morning, we have responded to 122 students and have more than 270 additional outstanding requests.  Thank you for standing with students and giving what you can to lighten their load.

There’s no doubt that helping others has always been the Gamecock way, and I am proud of the university for the many ways it is serving the greater community during this pandemic.  You’ll be inspired by the story in this issue about the College of Engineering and the School of Medicine Greenville collaborating with Prisma Health on a ventilator device.  I know that many of you are involved in outreach efforts in your own cities and towns and that you’re making a difference in your communities. 

Thank you, Gamecock alumni, for your loyal devotion and boundless spirit.  We are one team, working together for the health and wellbeing of this great university we all love.

Here’s a Health Carolina, Forever to Thee,

Bob Caslen