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Campus update for April 14, 2020

April 14, 2020

Dear students,

Graduation is on! Twice. 

There will be a short online ceremony at 2 p.m. May 23, the date and time originally scheduled.

Then a traditional commencement, with all the trimmings, will be held Oct. 11 at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline. Baccalaureate will be at 10 a.m. that day in Centennial.

It's going to be a giant weekend in October: our 160th Commencement Convocation plus our 100th Homecoming. See the details.

Today's updates:

Emilee Goad, Augustana's sexual health and violence prevention coordinator, is available for counseling. She is a confidential advisor who can talk with you through email, over the phone or video chat.

• The Learning Commons is offering well-being labs twice weekly though April.

• Hey, first- and second-year students, remember to complete your housing application for 2020-21 no later than April 27. Housing selection is the week of May 4.

• Thinking of a summer class or two? Here's a list of courses and some details.

• While we have no known cases of COVID-19 impacting Augustana students, staff and faculty, it is likely we will hear from individuals who have experienced symptoms or are awaiting test results for COVID-19.

In the event a student or employee is diagnosed, we will not automatically send a campus notice. The college will provide information as required by legal and health authorities, and we will work closely with the Rock Island County Health Department.

If you become ill and cannot take part in distance learning, please notify your professors and/or the Dean of Students office.

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Today's videos: Officer Ross returns! and a commencement throwback

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Dance like no one is watching

Wes Brooks, Vice President and Dean of Student Life

If you enjoy a good quote, maybe one that’s motivational or focused on leadership, then you and I have something in common. I love a good quote. And when times get tough or I face something unexpected, I often dig into a good quote or poem to find some solace.

Let’s think about this quote from Helen Keller who may have said it best. "When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us."

Many doors at Augustana have been closed on us during this unimaginable time. To name only a few my heart hurts for: students who lost fine arts performances, senior student-athletes who saw their final spring sports seasons vanish, and the Greek community who lost new member period time together.

On-campus social time in community has been cut short, and the loss of face-to-face mentoring and learning between faculty and students. Those and many others are tough losses resulting in doors that have been unexpectedly closed on us.

The Brooks household is a baseball family. We miss America’s pastime. They call the middle of the season the dog days of summer. Similarly, it can be challenging during weeks 6, 7, 8 or 9 of a semester for students, faculty, and staff. Whether it be tests, assignments piling up, papers to grade, co-curricular opportunities creating added stress, whatever the case may be, the middle of the semester can be difficult.

We sometimes lose sight of all that’s good about a special place like Augustana. So yes, we’ve had some tough losses but those losses are from a place of happiness, right? A door of happiness has closed. How awesome was it to build a theater set, even though it was never used? How cool was it to have that one conversation in a week 6 class that looking back now is just blowing your mind? How much fun did you have with teammates preparing for the spring season?

The losses have highlighted how special the Augustana experience is and that should allow all of us, especially our seniors, to cherish their happiest moments at Augustana even more. Since we now know we can’t take anything for granted. And with that door of happiness closing, what new door has opened?

For me, it feels like a double door of family and reflection has swung open. The number of meals we have eaten together at the dinner table, the arts and crafts, the walks together, and the time to have meaningful conversations. Or just acting silly because it just feels right or even necessary. Heck, I can assure you I’ve danced like no one is watching more than once in the last four weeks. Have you? I recommend it. My wife jokes with me and says "No one wants to see that" so thankfully, you aren’t watching. But that’s another great quote from William Purkey. Things I may have rushed through or taken for granted before, now have different meaning. That’s exciting to me.

I miss the normalcy of all things Augustana, especially my observations of the learning and growth in mind, spirit and body that occurs daily and the tremendous interactions I have with students, faculty and staff on campus. But, I do appreciate the new door of happiness that has opened for me. Quality, uninterrupted family time.

As you think about the doors that have closed over the past few weeks, have you thought about what new doors have opened for you? I believe these new open doors we are all experiencing will enhance and enrich our Augustana community moving forward.

In the meantime, I hope you join me in continuing to cherish and appreciate all that Augustana has to offer and being mindful of new open doors in the interim. I can’t wait to have our bustling campus and face-to-face student experience return as soon as possible. It’s not the same without you. GO VIKINGS! 

Please send comments, questions or suggestions to

prospective deer

A prospective bio major outside Hanson Hall of Science on Saturday.