Message From the Chancellor (COVID-19 April 3, 2020 8:12 p.m.)

Ending the week

Dear TWU Community,

I hope this message finds you well as the workweek draws to a close.

Unemployment skyrocketed this week and confirmed cases of COVID-19 are hitting closer to home. I have had off-campus students write who are symptomatic and even had one from the hospital where doctors admitted her with pneumonia—all of whom are still anxious to finish the semester. Trust me! There is a time to worry about classes but also a time to focus on health.

Grad student Saduman Gubuz shared with me her tutorial on making filtered face masks. She also made 100 of these and donated them to Wise Health System in Decatur, TX. I have seen several other how-to guides in publications from the New York Times this morning to a Japanese Creations blog, which offers a sort of origami approach to folding these masks, no sewing required. Given that health expert guidelines may suggest that everyone wear at least some sort of respiration mask when leaving home on essential errands, these may be useful resources.

Biology and medical technology undergrad Yaratzeth Ortiz shared, “With everything going on in our personal lives and work lives, it seems like we’re playing Jenga, and one wrong move could make everything fall down. This transition to online classes has been overwhelming, but I have faith everything will fall into place.” You have no idea how much that Jenga-metaphor resonates with me.

My favorite uplifting story came from Emily Holland, who feels hearing other’s stories in these messages are “gulps of fresh air amidst the clouds of ashes and anxiety.” She went on to share her story, from which I have pulled an excerpt:

I have worked my tail off during the past five years to put myself through school, always maintaining two jobs while studying biology, and graduation was the light at the end of the tunnel for me. With a tendency towards melodrama, I should have known that it was a train coming!

All we can do now is take care of ourselves and each other, and re-evaluate the things that are actually important in life. I had been so caught up in the details—getting my dress altered, sending out announcements, how I was going to do my hair—and now I see that none of that “stuff” ever really mattered. My people are well; they are proud of me. I am well; I’m proud of myself, and I will still have a bachelor’s degree at the end of this, which was the immediate goal anyway.

Texas Woman’s University has the beauty of opal, the strength of diamond, and an elegant, motherly influence. I am forever thankful to have had the opportunity to learn and grow and blossom there.

I particularly love her poetic, penultimate sentence! Let me conclude today with history major Gary Winner's perspective, shared from Scott Padgett, chief meteorologist on CBS 11 News in Dallas/Fort Worth: “On cloudy days the sun is still shining, you just have to look harder to see it.”
When I do feel those “clouds of ashes and anxiety” swirling overhead, the Texas Woman’s community gives me the courage to stay strong! Thank you for continuing to share your joys and concerns with me.

With a pioneering spirit,

Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D.
Chancellor and President

Have Strength multimedia work by Marysia Schultz

Marysia Schultz, New York artist and relative of a former Texas Woman’s community member painted “Have Strength” — pastel, colored pencil, and watercolor on paper, 30x22”

“To our health care workers, nurses, doctors, caregivers, pharmacists, hospital administrators, hospital staff and every other person that is fighting this fight against Coronavirus, THANK YOU. Thank you for risking your lives, for going in to battle every day to take care of our community and loved ones. Thank you for the sacrifices you are making right now, and for all the sacrifices leading up to this day. Thank you for your bravery. Thank you for holding the hands of our loved ones when you cannot see your own, for offering comfort to those who need it, even though you have so little left to give. You are our strength, for this, thank you.” —@reeshapaints

Page last updated 8:38 AM, April 23, 2020