Letter from the President
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
I hope my message finds you doing well, staying healthy, and thriving as it relates to your campus-based or virtual experience.
Last week began with the challenging news of Bishop Loras. As difficult as it was to send and/or receive it, I so appreciate the graciousness which our campus community responded. My prayer is that we can all be as forgiving and acknowledging of our past as we are committed to putting our energies to working together to become a fully inclusive campus.
As difficult as the news above was to receive, the Scholar Strike programming served as an inspiring series of opportunities to experience. I am so grateful to our students, staff, and faculty who worked tirelessly to pull these programs together so quickly and well. Further, the breadth, depth, and substance of each event was positively impactful for us all. I especially wish to commend our students who presented so vulnerably, honestly, and personally. We must continue our efforts to eradicate racial injustice and find ways to uphold human dignity, especially in these divisive and polarized times.
As we move forward with this semester, I am grateful for all the ways you are making sacrifices. Wearing face coverings, maintaining personal distance, frequently washing hands, and reporting symptoms are important behaviors. I wish again underscore the need for individual and collective efforts to refrain from inappropriate behavior- hosting or participating in large parties, going to crowded bars, etc. As previously shared, we worked hard to get you back. Please help us to keep you here!
Many private colleges are struggling these days, especially relates to the impact of the pandemic. While the implications of the virus have certainly affected Loras, I am pleased to report that our year over year enrollment only decreased from 1,416 to 1,404. We had budgeted for a decline of as many as 125 students. Our first year to sophomore retention actually increased by three percent. Our student academic profile again remained strong and our year over year increase in first year Students of Color moved from 19% to 24%.
Loras’ national recognition remains strong as US News again ranked Loras as the region’s 16th best institution. In the same publication, Loras was the only Iowa institution designated as a top 10 Best Value. I anticipate that Loras will continue to accumulate additional recognitions in the weeks ahead. We will keep you posted.
In closing, I acknowledge that we all have to contend with difficult circumstances related to the pandemic. Further, I realize that the political and racial unrest only magnifies the anxiety/depression many feel, especially our Students of Color. For all of us who are persons of faith, I intentionally call upon you (us) to demonstrate resilience, empathy, and understanding. As a reminder, we are all created in the image and likeness of God. Let us treat each other as Christ calls us to be.
Loras’ past and current successes are a result of us ensuring a resilient, supportive, and inclusive community. To that end, we must be united in support for one another.
Be assured of my best wishes and prayers for a great semester. Do not forget #Loras Together #ProDeoetPatria
James E. Collins ‘84