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Darla Moore School of Business

Dean Brews' Message to the Community No. 1

March 23, 2020

Dear Moore School Alumni and Friends:

In June 1966, Robert Kennedy used a phrase in a speech in Cape Town now part of our vocabulary: May we live in interesting times. Commenting on the times he found himself in he noted: “Like it or not we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history.”

As we adjust to the new normal of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital to recognize that in times of danger and uncertainty creative human energy is essential. I know we will look back and marvel how our creative energy was harnessed in the face of this Black Swan event that touches us all, on every continent and in every country around the world.

Last week I worked diligently with Moore School faculty and staff to lock down our building and prepare for remote work, and this week our students start a semester at home. This signifies a new chapter in our collective lives: hundreds of faculty and staff and many thousands of students entering a new normal of remote education. Those not apprehensive about what will transpire as we negotiate this new educational terrain are superhuman! Both faculty and students must master new educational modes and become comfortable working in new formats, and added to this will be students completing multiple classes where faculty may use different approaches in each class. It will take time to master these new remote formats together.

I sent a plea to all faculty, staff and students the night before classes began urging all to remain calm in the face of difficulty and to be empathetic and understanding on all accounts. I told students their faculty and staff have been working frantically to prepare since the decision to close USC to students was made, and that as with anything innovative or new, corrections and adjustments will be inevitable.

None among us have seen a pandemic of this potential scale and intensity, and when this crisis is over we will have many stories to tell. Top among these will be the acts of human kindness and compassion we show and receive, and how we worked together to find the way forward. We will be different and better when this time has passed, and as we go through the tumult always keep in mind what is most important: to be safe, healthy and among those you love facing what life presents.

Let us be our very best selves as we conquer this virus together. So unleash your creativity and show grace.

With hope,

Dean Brews

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.