Published April 6, 2020

Letter from Rutgers President Robert Barchi

Hope, Courage, Compassion, Strength

Dear Rutgers Alumni and Friends:

I hope this finds you well. Lately, these words carry extra weight and some sadness. To those who have lost friends and loved ones in recent weeks, please accept my condolences. If you are experiencing illness, I wish you a speedy recovery.

The global pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we do our work at Rutgers. But it has not stopped us. Our students continue to learn, albeit remotely. Our researchers continue their work—including timely efforts to help develop a rapid COVID-19 test—and our health care professionals continue to provide urgently needed care. Our staff continue the functions that undergird our teaching, research, and public service. We post periodic updates about the university’s status here:

We all know that in addition to causing tragic loss of life, the COVID-19 outbreak has wrought extraordinary damage on many people’s livelihoods. If you are experiencing a career setback, I hope you will consult our many alumni career development resources. We publicize additional ways of connecting with the Rutgers community in our weekly alumni e-newsletter, Think Scarlet. Our Alumni Engagement staff will be available to provide guidance as well. You can contact them here:

If you are well and can assist other members of the Rutgers community, I hope you will do that. Please consider contributing to one of our student emergency support funds, which provide relief to students facing difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, or the COVID-19 Response Fund, which supports COVID-19 research and health care.

The most difficult situations often bring us closer. While we cannot gather in the ways we usually do, the outreach from and between members of our community has been extraordinary to witness. And your contributions to the welfare of our world have been enormous. The Rutgers family includes first responders on the front lines of clinical care, emergency medicine, law enforcement, and so much more; researchers actively pursuing treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19; Rutgers staff who provide daily support to students experiencing problems as a result of the pandemic; and alumni and friends who have lent financial support to those students and to our direct efforts to combat the global pandemic. Thank you.

This is not how I imagined spending my final months as Rutgers’ president, but it is meaningful in a completely unanticipated way. The COVID-19 outbreak brings out what is best in Rutgers: our dedication to changing lives for the better, our creativity and innovation, and our commitment to our communities—in short, our drive to improve the human condition and better the world.

Please stay safe and be well.


Robert Barchi

Support Emergency Funds

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