Columbia College President Dr. Scott Dalrymple

Dear Students,

The COVID-19 crisis is testing us all. Every day seems to bring challenges that would have seemed unthinkable just a few weeks ago. These are days you’ll tell your grandchildren about someday.

As trying as they are, though, these times have also brought out the best in the Columbia College community. I’m proud of the way we have responded to these extraordinary times.

I’m proud of our faculty for their compassion and flexibility in difficult circumstances. The speed with which they adjusted to this crisis was impressive. Their concern has always been you: how to ensure that you learn, that you earn the credit you expected, and most importantly that you graduate on time. They’ve made it all look easy, but that’s due to their hard work behind the scenes.

I’m proud of our staff for their creativity and courage. While the vast majority are working from home now, a handful of dedicated colleagues continue to ensure that the campus is clean, that the few remaining students are happy and well-fed, and that everyone is safe. They all deserve our thanks and respect.

Finally, I’m proud of you for your collective resilience and positive attitude. You didn’t sign up for any of this. No one expected all classes to go virtual all of a sudden. No one expected the spring athletic season to be canceled. No one expected to spend the rest of the semester at home. No one expected that the April commencement ceremony—a dream that seniors and parents have been anticipating for years—would be postponed. Yet you have shown grace and understanding in these extraordinary times.

Today I want to provide an update on some key issues:

  • We’re still unaware of any COVID-19 cases among CC students, faculty, or staff who could have exposed others in the CC community. Closing our facilities early no doubt helped.
  • Around two-dozen students remain on our Columbia campus, primarily international students with nowhere else to go (often the borders of their home countries are closed). They have all been moved to New Hall.
  • The College has provided a pro-rated refund of room & board charges for any of you asked to leave campus last month. This amount has been applied to your account automatically.
  • You will be offered the option of taking your Spring courses Pass/Fail. Normally we limit this for various good reasons, but it seems only fair now given the many disruptions to your education. Details are coming later today. (Due to accreditation constraints, Nursing and pre-Nursing students can’t choose this option. Sorry.)
  • Summer Session I Columbia College Global (CCG) courses, starting April 27, will be online for the entire term. We’ll decide later about Session II.

Right now we’re in the eye of the storm, and it’s hard to see out. Many people are worried about their futures, both physically and financially. One of the most powerful concepts I learned in college was Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:  people need to feel safe before they can worry about higher order ambitions. Right now you may be struggling to feel safe, with the whole world seemingly upside down. It may be hard to concentrate on anything but the crisis. That’s okay. Just take it one day at a time, and soon you’ll find yourself climbing the pyramid.

Know that we will get through this. You’ll get through this, the College will get through this, and the country will get through this.


We’re here for you.

Dr. Scott Dalrymple