Latest Update from the President: 5/19/20

Dear EU Residential Students,

Thank you for your patience as Eastern University has undertaken efforts to determine compensation for our residential students whose on campus housing experience was disrupted by the COVID-19 campus closure.  As I communicated to you previously, the University leadership and I submitted a proposal to the Board of Trustees that included a combination of cash disbursements and credits for future use by returning students.  I am pleased to report that the Board adopted this proposal at its annual meeting on Friday, May 15, 2020.

As a result, those students that were residing on the St. Davids campus through March 14, 2020, will receive the following remuneration:

  1. All disrupted residential students will receive a cash grant of $1,270.  The purpose of these funds is to offset any additional expenses you may have  incurred for food, housing and other needs due to the disruption of campus operations.

  2. Additionally, those students that vacated campus housing following the closure will receive credit adjustments to their room and board charges.

    • The adjustments will be applied to each student’s account, and will be used to offset any outstanding balance owed to the University.

    • For returning students, up to $1,000.00 of any adjustment amount in excess of your outstanding balance will be held on your student account to offset charges for Fall 2020 or Spring 2021.  Any other excess amount will be disbursed to the student.

    • Graduates will receive disbursements for any room and board adjustment in excess of any outstanding balance owed to the University.

We anticipate that any room and board adjustments will be processed and applied to your student accounts by Saturday, May 23, 2020.  By May 29, 2020, the cash grant, and any other amount to be disbursed, will be direct-deposited into your bank account or mailed to you by check.   We strongly encourage students to enroll in direct deposit by logging in to myEastern and selecting Student Accounts>Bank Information (U.S.).  Students who have previously signed up for direct deposit should verify their bank information.

Once again, thank you for your patience.  I thank God for you—for the resilience and forbearance that you have demonstrated during this difficult season.  Please know that we will spend the weeks and months ahead prayerfully making decisions that sustain the mission, well-being, and effectiveness of our educational community.

May God bless and keep you,

Ronald A. Matthews, D.M.A.
President 

Previous Communications

Update from the President: 5/1/20

Dear EU Students,

As we approach the end of the semester, I am grateful that the EU community has successfully demonstrated responsiveness, flexibility, accommodation, dedication, accomplishment, and commitment to our mission. 

At the same time, we are sad that we couldn’t be on campus together to end the semester. We are especially sad that our graduating students will not have a May commencement together. Who could have foreseen such a scenario?

Commencement: Our Commencement Planning Committee is evaluating several options for an on-campus commencement later this year. As soon as their proposals are fully evaluated, we will share the details. In the meantime, we would like you to know that:

  • Graduates will soon be able to order their regalia and have it shipped to their homes. Be on the lookout for an email from the Registrar's Office regarding the process to place orders. 

  • We deeply regret not being able to be with you next Saturday to celebrate your commencement; however, be sure to check your emails Saturday, May 9 for a special message from the President and many of your fans at Eastern.

  • During the month of June, you will receive in the mail an expression of our gratitude and congratulations on the completion of your degree. We hope you will enjoy it.

  • As for the in-person ceremony, it is our goal that this fall we will all be together to celebrate your achievements, your hard work, and the futures you are building. In planning, we want to prioritize the safety of you and your families. We expect to have an announcement sometime in May once we receive further updates from the Pennsylvania Governor.

One of the most difficult verses in scripture states, “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2.

Really?! That sounds optimistic and yet joy in this context is a disciplined decision. It represents an interpretation of life and a hope that difficulties and troubles can somehow be productive and even beneficial in making us resilient and mature. My prayer is that you will continue to grow amid the adaptation required of you to go forward and to abound.

Fall Opening: Eastern University desires and intends to start the fall semester on campus and on time, with all the benefits of an active campus life. If government restrictions would affect that, we are preparing for other options including our highly recognized online programs and hybrid models involving a mix of on-campus and online delivery as determined by best practices, government regulations, and medical protocols. But please know, we want to be back on our campuses together!

Financial: The University leadership has formulated a plan to remunerate residential students that were displaced from campus housing due to the COVID-19 closures enacted by the Pennsylvania Governor. The proposal includes a combination of cash disbursements and credits for future use by returning students. Given the extraordinary nature of the proposal, it requires approval by our Board of Trustees before specific details may be released. The Board will convene electronically mid-May, after which we will convey details to the impacted students.

Residence Halls: Resident Directors will send an email to communicate a plan offering staggered times for students to pick up their items between May 9th and June 30. We are thoughtfully considering multiple scenarios for students to return to the residence halls in the fall. When the appropriate scenario has been confirmed resident students will be notified.

The Center for Career Development team remains available to support all students throughout the summer, offering one-on-one career counseling appointments via Zoom on topics such as:

  • Resume and cover letters (also available through email for asynchronous critique!)
  • Major and minor selection
  • Internship and job search how-tos
  • LinkedIn and Handshake profile assistance
  • Networking with professionals in your field
  • Graduate school application assistance
  • Mock interview and interview preparation

The Center for Career Development recognizes that students, especially this year’s graduates, may face uncertain futures regarding employment. In light of this, the Center for Career Development has created a Class of 2020 Launch Kit to provide a one-stop resource on creating resumes, cover letters, searching for jobs, interviewing, and much more! We hope this guide will serve to both celebrate and empower the Class of 2020. For your additional interest, please view the 2019 Post Graduation Report.

Students are encouraged to make appointments through Handshake or by emailing careers@eastern.edu . For more resources online, visit the Careers Website.

two galaxiesAn Observation by Prof. David Bradstreet: The picture (to the right) was taken in the Bradstreet Observatory on April 15, 2020 by Tom Hirsch, junior undergraduate research student, assisted by Steve Sanders, Observatory Administrator, and supervised by seniors Amber Huddell and Chiara Behm.

The object is actually two galaxies, one spiral, M51, called the Whirlpool galaxy, and its smaller companion, M51b. The spiral galaxy, some 31 million light years from Earth, contains at least 300 billion individual stars. The bright individual stars are foreground objects in our own Milky Way in the line of sight of these galaxies. 

The image itself is composed of nearly 100 individual 45-second exposures taken in four filters over a period of 2 hours and image processed into one composite picture. The telescope had to precisely track the field throughout the entire 2 hours to exactly compensate for the rotation of the Earth. This image was taken as part of the observing requirements for the lab in this semester’s astronomy course.

In closing, looking at the heavens can be inspiring and humbling with its vastness and mystery, especially in light of our small planet and individual lives. But the earth does matter. Our lives are important. That is why Eastern University exists. Crisis can bring out the best and worst of society and ourselves. I hope that Eastern University, all of us, will weather this crisis in a way that demonstrates our love for God and one another through faith, reason, and justice. That is our resolve as EUnited.

Respectfully,

Ronald A. Matthews, D.M.A.
President 

COVID-19 Eastern University Update: 4/24/20

Dear EU Students,

As we conclude another week of classes online perhaps with a bit of Zoom fatigue, I hope you are managing safely as the entire world deals with the demands, fear, and stress of COVID-19.

In Wednesday’s chapel, I spoke about the “new normal” that Jesus initiated with his resurrection -- the overcoming of suffering and death and the invitation to live in the new life of Jesus, in divine communion and purpose in each day now and forever. All things are not good but God can work good in all things.

I would like to offer a special expression of gratitude for our faculty, staff, and administration who have been working intently to ensure delivery of courses and support to our students and community. This is a complex time requiring discernment and patience in understanding the federal, state, and local expectations for higher education.

I will send an email next week with more announcements and a financial update for resident students who were displaced by the government directive to close campuses to the public and resident students.

One Update and One Invitation

Update: Summer Session II and the rest of the Summer term will be offered fully online.

Invitation: In closing, I would like to invite you to an EU Theater virtual event of Little Women this Sunday, April 26th from 7pm-8pm. We will have a special presentation followed by a Q&A time with the cast of Little Women.  Here's the link: Zoom Meeting.  All are welcome! Special appreciation to Professor Lois Abdelmalek and our theater students!

Have a good weekend,

Ronald A. Matthews, D.M.A.

Easter Greetings and Important Eastern University Updates: 4/9/20

Dear Eastern University Students,

You are in our continual thoughts and prayers as our nation deals with the ongoing impact of COVID-19. 

One of my lifelong habits has been to read Psalms and Proverbs daily. In these Scriptures, I have found deep expressions of faith, fear, anger, hope, and divine provision and protection. Relatedly, this week is Holy Week, the last week of Lent. It is the culmination of 40 days of reflection on Jesus Christ, intended to strengthen our faith in humble consideration of what it means for God to “so love the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.” 

Lent also leads us to consider what it means to love God as a disciple of Jesus, living life in joyful obedience for the salvation that is offered to everyone through the suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord. As the world continues to suffer, as people continue to die, the significance and hope found in the resurrection and ascension of Jesus is desperately needed. Jesus looked forward to returning to heaven and said it was better for him to do so, because he would send a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who would be with all of his followers on earth. And so we are given the opportunity to live every day in the Presence of God. It means that in everything we encounter in our lives, we are not alone. “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3)

Below are some updates. 

I am thankful for our Administrators, Faculty, and Staff, working intently on the well-being of Eastern. And I am thankful for YOU -- also working intently on becoming your best as you share in the shaping of the Eastern story and your own future. 

Adjustments for room and board
We recognize that the disruption caused by COVID-19 represents an extraordinary circumstance, and we plan to provide some sort of adjustment to our students who were displaced from residence halls by the government’s closure. Regrettably, we do not yet have all of the information that we need to form such a decision. Part of that information is whether the University will receive relief through recent federal legislation and, if so, when those funds will be available. The last couple of weeks have been stressful for everyone, and we appreciate your desire to get an answer. We will inform all affected students as soon as we can. We hope to provide more information by the end of April.

May Commencement Update 
May Commencement will be rescheduled to a later date and it will be an on-campus event, subject to any medical or governmental COVID-19 restrictions. Thanks to all the May graduates who responded to the commencement poll. We know what an important milestone this is for you, your families, and friends. We had a very strong response rate and 92% of responding students preferred an on-campus commencement in late summer or early fall. More information will be forthcoming.

Eligible students will have degrees conferred on May 31, or if related to Summer Sessions, on August 31. These are the standard dates and practices and are not affected, regardless of the rescheduled commencement date. The diploma and ceremony celebrate and commemorate the accomplishment, but the degree and the status of graduate are awarded by the degree date.

Access to EU Campuses
A reminder that until the campus is officially reopened and we receive clearance from state and local government officials, students will not be able to enter the residence halls to retrieve items.

Resources for academic and student support
As we continue to operate our semester online, remember that your resources include online academic, counseling, and other student support services. Please take advantage of these resources, if needed. This season is an opportunity to study deeply and invest in personal excellence that will affect your immediate and long term goals. Keep on going!

Eastern University Donates Equipment to Main Line Health
The Eastern University Chemistry and Nursing departments have gathered a variety of Personal Protective Equipment to donate to one of our primary clinical partners, Main Line Health. The equipment includes 1300 pairs of gloves, 220 masks including 125 surgical masks and 20 N95 masks, 100 personal protective gowns, 8 surgical gowns, 30 lab coats, and miscellaneous other materials.

Day of Giving
We are postponing our 2nd Annual Day of Giving. However, in order to assist students and the Eastern community, we are establishing and raising financial support for two new funds that address hardships generated by COVID-19.  Gifts to the Angel Fund will support students who are experiencing severe financial stress that could prevent them from returning to Eastern in the fall.  The Eagles Wings Fund will provide additional financing for Eastern's unexpected COVID-19 related expenses, such as support for students experiencing housing insecurity and other extraordinary assistance provided by University personnel. I invite you to share these new giving opportunities with those who could provide assistance for our students. Here are the appropriate links: Angel Fund or Eagles Wings Fund.

As we enter into the Triduum — the three day period from Maundy Thursday through Sunday evening, I hope you will be encouraged by our Lord Jesus who turned tragedy into triumph. May God bless you!

Respectfully,

Ronald A. Matthews, D.M.A.

COVID-19 Update: 3/23/2020

Dear EU Students,

Thank you for your exemplary patience and understanding during this global COVID-19 crisis. As I write this, PA Gov. Wolf just announced a “stay at home” order for seven counties in PA, which includes EU’s locations. Many of us are glued to newscasts while others have retreated from media because of fear or fatigue, but all of us are dealing with stress in some form. 

In such a time, the words of Scripture become even more comforting and challenging. Last Wednesday during our Virtual Chapel (please join us this Wednesday at 10 am), Chaplain Modica and I read the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7. What struck me amid Jesus’ teachings and directives were these three phrases: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life”…(6:25) and a bit later, “Therefore do not worry”…(6:31), and then “So do not worry about tomorrow”…(6:34). In Philippians 4:5b-6, the Apostle Paul, who endured so much suffering in Christ that he interpreted it as a complement to Jesus’ own suffering, wrote: “The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I continue to be grateful for and impressed with the sacrificial dedication of our Staff and Faculty. We love Eastern and we love you and are praying for wisdom and wellness for us all. Below are some updates. Please read them carefully.

All Students: 

  • Summer 1 Moved Online: All courses offered in Summer Session I have been moved to an online mode of delivery. This also means that courses scheduled for the full Summer term will at least begin if not end in an online format.

  • Modified Grading Scale: To help our undergraduate students lower stress levels, the University is releasing a modified grade scale for most of our undergraduate courses, with exceptions in courses related to certain accredited programs. This scale, provided below, will be used until we announce otherwise. Professors will let students know if their course is on the exempted list.

A (100-90), A- (89-85), B+ (84-80), B (79-75), B- (74-70), C+ (69-65), C (64-60), F (< 60)

  • The Cushing Center for Counseling & Academic Support is offering all personal and academic support services remotely.

Academic Support:

  • Writing Center: Writing Assistance is available online. Instructions are posted under Access the Writing Center on the Writing Center webpage.  Contact Dr. John Nordlof (jnordlof@eastern.edu) with questions.

  • Tutoring: Subject area tutoring is being offered online. Current tutees should contact their tutors for online options. New students can submit requests by email to Liz Peck, Tutoring & Testing Coordinator (lizette.peck@eastern.edu.)

  • Academic Coaching: Recognizing the challenges students face with the transition to the online environment, CCAS is adding remote academic coaching services. These will usually be provided by the graduate counseling interns. Contact Dr. Lisa Hemlick (lhemlick@eastern.edu) to make a request or get information.   

  • Counseling:  Counseling is being offered through a telecounseling platform. Current counselees have been contacted by their counselors. Students who want to submit new counseling requests should contact Dr. Lisa Hemlick  (lhemlick@eastern.edu). For crises, students should contact the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741), call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK), or access local resources. 

  • Disability Accommodations: CCAS is ensuring that disability accommodations are provided to eligible students. CCAS is coordinating testing accommodations remotely and providing proctoring when needed. Students already approved for testing accommodations should contact Liz Peck  (ccastest@eastern.edu) or Lori Dziedziak (ldziedzi@eastern.edu) with questions. Students should submit new requests for testing or other types of accommodations to Lori Dziedziak. 

  • College Success Program for Students with Autism: All program services are being offered remotely by Dr. Sharon Thompson and the program mentors. Contact Dr. Thompson with questions (sthomp13@eastern.edu).

  • Act 101: Act 101 Counselor Ashlee Williams (ashlee.williams@eastern.edu) is connecting with Act 101 students to provide academic and personal support. 

All Residential Students: 

  • For students, the campus, including residence halls, is closed for the rest of the semester. Belongings left in the residence halls will be secure and available when the directives from the government indicate that access is safe and legal. This does not apply to those residential students presently living on campus.

  • Refunds: We are presently evaluating Eastern’s financial position and options related to room and board adjustments. More information will be shared as soon as it is available. Thank you for your patience. 

All Graduating Students: All May Commencements have been canceled. However, you will receive a poll shortly to determine interest in having a virtual commencement or a rescheduled in-person commencement to be held in the Fall, pending the COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions in place at the time.

I’ve heard it said that what God instructs us to do, God enables us to do. So, I encourage you during this season of disruption to consider the following as ways to reduce worry and stress.

  • Handle each day as it comes. 

  • Use the evening before the day to prepare.

  • Keep a journal of your thoughts, experiences, and things you’re learning through this season.

  • Find and reflect on scriptures with themes of “fear not”, “don’t be anxious”, “don’t be afraid”. There are hundreds of references, especially comforting when remembering that if God spoke something once, that would probably be enough. Repetition can be a good instructor.

  • Exercise -- not just the finger exercises of video games or phone buttons, but one minute exercises that you can do anywhere, like various plank positions, old school squats, sit-ups, and push-ups, etc. We are souls with real bodies that are called the temple of God. Let’s strengthen ours.

  • Go outside, walk, breathe, and pray. Practice safe social distancing.

Thank you for being a part of the Eastern University Community. We are better together and we will be better together for having gone through this sad and painful chapter in our world’s history. Don’t worry!

Respectfully, 

Ronald A. Matthews, President

Faculty & Staff - Continue to Work Remotely 3/27/20

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for the remarkable way that you have transitioned our educational and operational realities to an online-remote context in response to the COVID-19 concerns.  I thank God daily for you--and for the care that you continue to render to our students and to one another during this unprecedented circumstance.

Earlier this week, PA Governor Tom Wolf issued a “Stay-at-Home” order for Delaware and other counties in Pennsylvania.  As a result, Eastern University campuses will remain closed to the public for the mandated period (currently, through April 6, 2020).  Pursuant to my previous guidance, faculty and staff should continue to work remotely until the campus reopens.  Please contact your supervisor or department head to discuss remote work assignments.  (Note that Esperanza College personnel should adhere to the independent plan established for that site.)

Campus access is limited to only those employees that have been designated as “Essential Personnel”.  Essential personnel should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are feeling sick, do not come onto campus.

  • Let your supervisor know when you are coming to campus.

  • Sanitize anything you touch upon entering and exiting the space.  Please bring appropriate wipes if you have them.

  • Practice social distancing of a minimum of six feet.

  • Wash your hands before and after you enter your space.

 

Employees who cannot fulfill their work roles (including essential personnel who cannot fulfill their on campus assignments) should contact their supervisor, or Human Resources, to discuss leave options.

May the Lord bless you and protect you, may the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, may the Lord look with favor on you and give you peace.

Grace and strength for the journey,

Ronald A. Matthews, D.M.A.

Letter from the President 3/14/20

Dear Eastern University community,

Last night, Friday, March 13, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf enacted aggressive social distancing procedures for Delaware County for 14 days in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  Today, Pennsylvania Department of Education advised that these procedures mandate the closing of institutions of higher education.

Eastern University will continue with our plan of teaching all classes online through the remainder of the semester. However, beginning Monday, March 16, all Eastern University campuses will be closed to the public for the mandated period, concluding Saturday, March 28. Note that Esperanza College has its own independent plan.

Below are important announcements for students, faculty, and staff.

STUDENTS: 

  • All students are required to leave campus by 5:00 p.m. Monday, March 16. Food services will be provided through lunch on Monday.

  • If you have not completed the Residential Plans Form, please do so immediately. If you need to remain on campus due to extenuating circumstances, you must receive approval.

  • We will still provide critical infrastructure for resident students who must remain in the residence halls.

 

FACULTY & STAFF: 

  • Except for those departments noted below, faculty and staff should work remotely beginning on Monday, March 16 until the campus reopens.  Please contact your supervisor or department head to discuss remote work assignments.  

  • Technology Services will issue further guidance by email regarding telecommuting. Human Resources will issue further guidance for employees who cannot work remotely.  

  • Campus operations will remain open during this time. The following departments should report to campus unless otherwise notified by their supervisors: Public Safety, Residence Life, Dining Services, Facilities, and the Health Center.

  • As always, we will continue to send updates via email as necessary and will keep our webpage at www.eastern.edu/coronavirus updated with the latest information. Included on that page, and below, is a helpful FAQs section.

    Your health, safety, and well-being continue to remain our top priority. We are praying continually and responding thoughtfully and quickly as we continue to monitor updates regarding COVID-19. Thank you for your understanding and patience as we seek to serve you and your families to the best of our ability.

Grace and strength for the journey,


Ronald A. Matthews

President, Eastern University

Alumni & Friends Update - Letter from the President 3/19/20

Letter from the President: 3/19/20

Dear Alumni and Friends,

I hope this email finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.  Perhaps you know by now that heightened concern about the COVID-19 virus has caused the Governor to enact restrictions on the five-county Philadelphia area where Eastern University is located.  I am writing to update you on how Eastern University is responding to these preventive measures and also to update you on some related event changes.  

EU’s COVID-19 Response:

  • This past weekend, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf enacted aggressive social distancing procedures for 14 days in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.  Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) mandated the closure of institutions of higher education in the impacted area. Accordingly--

    • Eastern has migrated all of its classes (undergraduate, graduate and Palmer Seminary) to an online format for the remainder of the Spring semester;

    • The campuses are closed to the public during this mandated period, with all non-essential employees telecommuting;   

    • All residential students were required to move out of their residence halls by 5 pm on March 16.  Our Student Development team continues to work with accommodating several dozen students who are unable to get home at this time.        

  • For additional details and continued University updates on our COVID-19 response, please visit www.eastern.edu/coronavirus.   

EU Alumni & Advancement Events Update:

  • Day of Giving: We have postponed our 2nd Annual Day of Giving from Thursday, March 19 to Thursday, April 16.  On that date, we hope you will respond to our invitation for 1,925 minutes of support to an area of Eastern that is most important to you.  This is obviously a critical time for Eastern. Further electronic and social media communications will be provided as the date nears.  

  • 50th Reunion, Class of 1970: We have typically enjoyed hosting our 50th Reunion class during Commencement celebrations.  While Commencement remains on the University schedule for May 8-9, 2020, we have decided to postpone our 50th Reunion activities until Homecoming on October 9-10, 2020.  Members of the Class of 1970 will receive further details as they become available from our alumni engagement team.
     

Online Events: 

  • Our Alumni Engagement Team, in partnership with other areas of the University, is actively seeking ways to continue to engage with you and help you feel connected, even during this season of social distancing for the health and well-being of our communities.  Please follow our Alumni Instagram and Facebook pages for some of the virtual events they are planning, so you may know when those opportunities become available.  Additionally, please check our University Instagram and Facebook pages for other University news and COVID-19 related updates.

In closing, I want to share a message on Hope in the Grief that I recently gave to our students.  Please join me in prayer for them and for our faculty as they transition to learning in an online environment.  Finally, please let us know how you are doing. We pray for you and your families. May we all rest in the knowledge of God’s glory among the nations and the opportunity we have to share hope with our families, friends, and neighbors during this time of turmoil.  

Grace and strength for the journey,

Ron

Ronald A. Matthews, D.M.A.

 

Letter to Eastern Students: Hope in the Grief 3/16/20

Dear Eastern Students,


Over the past few days, your inboxes have been flooded with news and logistics surrounding COVID-19 and its abrupt ramifications for you as students. In the span of several hours, you are probably feeling like your life has been flipped upside down.  


I want to take a moment to reflect together. The fear of the unknown, the grief of leaving this community, the anxiety of beginning a new online classroom format – these are deep concerns that I want to acknowledge with you. Your heartache is not lost on me – Eastern University’s tight-knit community is a defining pillar of our identity, and the physical loss of it may feel unbearable.


Please take heart. Our incredible community is not limited to physical bounds, but has a deeper, sustaining source. In John 14, Jesus tells his disciples that he must soon leave them. His disciples are confused, grieved, and afraid. But Jesus promises to send an Advocate for them – the Holy Spirit – as a helper, a comfort, and a guide in light of Jesus’ physical absence. 


That same Holy Spirit continues to exist in every one of his followers – connecting us to the Father and to the greater community of saints (including our Eastern family!). While Jesus’ physical presence was longed for and deeply missed, the work of the Gospel exploded in his absence and the presence of the Holy Spirit brought people to faith in Jesus and newfound joy, power, and direction for the saints of the early church even and especially amid suffering. 


Students, remember that the Holy Spirit is with you today, right now, in the moment, this moment. When you feel lonely, anxious, or homesick for campus, draw on that source of hope from deep within and from Scripture. 


Seniors, when your heart is broken over the changes to your final semester, draw on the Holy Spirit. And please know we are in ongoing planning meetings to consider best options and practices related to how this pandemic affects this semester and you. 


Athletes, when you’re frustrated about the loss of your season, draw on the Holy Spirit who offers the transformation of your body into his holy temple. Consider Romans 12:1-2.


Interns, when you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed about meeting your requirements, draw on the Holy Spirit, and know that our university, state, and accrediting agencies will consider what is best for you. 


Students – our source of hope is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, promised and given to us by Jesus himself. Please guard your heart, avoid bitterness, overcome evil with good, be wise, and encourage one another. 

Jesus, anticipating his separation from his disciples, gave this promise:


“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27 


The administration, faculty, staff, and alumni are praying for you continually. We will make it through these changes together. Be assured of that.


Love, Grace, and Strength for the journey,
Ron

Ronald A. Matthews, D.M.A.

MAC to Cancel All Athletics - 3/16/20

ANNVILLE, Pa. (Conference News) – With further developments in the outbreak of COVID-19, the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Presidents announced their unanimous decision to cancel all spring athletics practices and competition through the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. On Thursday, the NCAA announced it was canceling the remainder of its winter and spring championships.

With this news the NCAA Division III Administrative Committee provided flexibility for schools to assist students with travel, lodging and meals as a result of campus displacements. The committee waived all requirements for sports sponsorships for the spring season. It also granted an additional season/semester of eligibility for student-athletes participating in spring sports.

Read this news release on the Athletics Website.

Monday 3/16/20 Classes Cancelled

Letter from the President: 3/15/2020

Dear Eastern University community,

Because of the mandated closure of our campuses requiring special accommodations to faculty, staff, and residence students, all classes on Monday, March 16, are cancelled.

Classes will resume on Tuesday, March 17.

This does not affect Esperanza students, who should visit the Esperanza website for information.

Thank you for your understanding amid these volatile times. 

With appreciation,

Ron

Ronald A. Matthews, D.M.A.

Classes to Move Online: Letter from the President 3/13/20

Letter from the President | 3/13/2020

Dear Eastern University Community,

As you know, we have been monitoring the progression of COVID-19 and have taken preemptive steps for the safety and well-being of our students. The Leadership Team met yesterday afternoon to assess the current landscape and consider proactive approaches we could take to ensure the health and welfare of our community. We have decided to move all classes (undergraduate, graduate, and Palmer Seminary) to an online format, with a few possible exceptions listed below.
 

Classes Will Move Online

  • Beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, in-person (face-to-face), on-campus classes at all locations will move to a fully online format for the remainder of the Spring semester.

  • Students have the option to remain on campus or to return home to complete their online classes. Note: Off-campus students are responsible for securing internet access. 

  • The Deans of each college will oversee the communication with their respective students about the specifics related to practicums, internships, labs, private music lessons, rehearsals, and other classes that often require on-ground elements.

  • Note that Esperanza College in Philadelphia has an independent plan.
     

Campus Will Remain Open

  • All St. Davids campus operations, including Offices, Residence Halls, Dining Facilities, the Health Center, Library, and Counseling Services will remain open.

  • Residential students on the St. Davids campus should exercise commitment to personal hygiene and social distancing guidelines consistent with respect for your neighbor and the EU community. 

  • Student Development will be following up with additional details and protocols for residential students who elect to leave campus.

  • All employees, including student workers, should continue to report to work. Operations will continue. Further guidance will be forthcoming from Human Resources. Note that Esperanza College employees should refer to the Esperanza website.
     

Events Will Be Limited

  • On-campus events on or after March 16 through the end of the semester are canceled, unless otherwise communicated.

  • Athletic competitions: As communicated yesterday, all spring athletic competitions are suspended beginning Monday, March 16 until Monday, March 30th. Early next week, we anticipate having additional information about the rest of the semester. 

  • Commencement is presently planned for May 9, 2020. However, that is subject to change pending ongoing medical recommendations and updates. We will continue to monitor this situation and will notify the community accordingly.

 

Again, Eastern University continues to review and implement best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Students or personnel who remain on campus should continue to follow best practices for hygiene, public engagement, and sanitation.

We know that this has been a stressful time for not just the Eastern community, but for the entire global community. The spread of COVID-19 has contributed to a unique set of circumstances and challenges that we are navigating together. We will continue to send updates as needed via email, and our webpage www.eastern.edu/coronavirus will continue to be updated with the latest information. In light of the many questions you may have, we ask for your patience as we seek to address the implications related to COVID-19 and our response to it.

 

In the face of these rapidly changing times, I encourage you to cling to what remains constant. We are in this together, and as a community, we will continue to worship, learn, study, and grow together. I am grateful for the blessing of technology and our community's willingness to engage creative modalities that allow us to continue our learning. And I am grateful for our communal faith in a God who is always working for our good and the good of the world. 
 

Let us continue to join together in prayer for healing for those who are sick, protection for those who are vulnerable, and a halt to the progression of this virus. Your prayers are powerful and our God is great.
 

With appreciation,

Ronald A. Matthews
President, Eastern University

Letter from the President: 3/11/20

Dear EU Community:

Let me begin by reiterating that Eastern University has no documented coronavirus cases on our St. Davids campus. This is good news and is one of the reasons that we have remained open during this healthcare crisis.

We are committed to the health and welfare of our students first and foremost. Unfortunately, today we became aware that the local healthcare system is unable to provide convenient access to the coronavirus test kits that are needed to assess any potential student illnesses. 

In light of this, we have decided on the course of action below:

  1. In-person (face-to-face) classes on Thursday, March 12th will be canceled at our St. Davids Campus. Online classes and classes held at the Philadelphia (City Ave and Center City) and Harrisburg locations will be held as scheduled.

  2. We will temporarily transition all in-person St. David’s courses to an online format, starting on Friday, March 13th until we have full access to coronavirus testing. The instructor for each course will coordinate this with students.

We believe that these actions will significantly minimize the already-low health risks currently faced by our community. We anticipate that in-person instruction will resume as soon as we are confident in our ability to quickly diagnose student illnesses through proper testing.

Throughout this situation, Eastern University has been consulting with and following the advice and directions of public healthcare professionals. Our preemptive step in this case is even more cautious than has been recommended by these government officials. 

Meanwhile, please be aware that all campus offices and campus services, including residence halls, dining services, and all other student services will remain open during this phase of our response to the healthcare crisis. Employees and students on the campus should continue to observe all of the infection protection and control recommendations outlined in the earlier emails and enumerated on this page.

Thank you for reviewing and adhering to the recommendations listed on our webpage. And remember, at this point our campus remains a safe place to live and study.

Respectfully,
Ronald A. Matthews
President

Athletics Update: 3/12/20

Dear Eastern University Community,

Today, the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Presidents determined it is in the best interest of campus communities to suspend athletic competition beginning Monday, March 16 through Monday, March 30. 

Games scheduled for March 12 through March 15 will be played as scheduled. However, beginning today, March 12, all on-campus athletic contests and competitions will be spectator-free, and only essential personnel will be allowed to attend. Essential personnel includes: 

  • Participating Student-Athletes
  • Coaches
  • Officials
  • Other Essential Personnel as determined by Eastern Athletics

These policies will be in place until Tuesday, March 31. At this time, the MAC will reassess their position, and we will reassess as a University.

According to the league’s announcement, “The MAC will be actively monitoring the situation and reassessing this action over the next two weeks to determine if further action is warranted. MAC institutions will suspend athletic contests, on or off campus, during those two weeks.”

Furthermore, Eastern University practices for all teams will be suspended from Monday, March 16th through Monday, March 23rd.

As we have shared previously, no coronavirus cases have been reported on our St. Davids campus. There is no evidence at present that our campus is unsafe. We are implementing these precautionary measures out of our deep commitment to the health and welfare of our students.

We will continue to update you if there are any additional changes.
 

Sincerely,

Dr. Ron Matthews
President

Eric McNelley
Director of Athletics

Esperanza College Building Closures: 3/12/20

Esperanza College has notified both students and faculty regarding a building closure for Thursday, March 12th and Friday, March 13th. Students, please check your email and Brightspace for additional information. Learn more at https://www.esperanza.us/

Travel Restrictions & Updates: 3/10/20

At this point, the University is recommending that Eastern employees and students forego unnecessary travel that could create COVID-19 exposure risks for you and our community. Our recommendation is particularly strong for those considering travel to high risk areas in the United States.

Respecting foreign travel, we not only recommend that this be avoided but add this limitation: any employees or students who have traveled to regions where sustained transmission of COVID-19 is occurring (i.e., China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea) may not return to any of our campus sites until they complete a 14-day self-monitoring period. Faculty and staff members who are self-monitoring for this period should notify their chair or supervisor immediately. Students should notify Student Health immediately.

Self-monitoring for 14 days means staying at home and avoiding group gatherings and public spaces, including Eastern’s campuses. You should also monitor your own health with care. Most importantly, if you develop a fever, cough or have difficulty breathing, you should immediately contact health care professionals such as your primary care physician or local health authorities.

Faculty members have been asked to provide alternative instructional options for students who need to spend time away from campus while they are self-monitoring. Because every class is different, students should contact their professors directly to inform them of the need to self-monitor and together determine the next steps to completing coursework remotely. Please contact your advisor for assistance if you need additional support to complete coursework off-campus.

Our intention is to make sure that if you do need to self-monitor, your academic work is minimally disrupted. Ensuring you receive academic instruction and support in a safe environment is our highest priority.  

Letter from the President 3/10/20

Dear Eastern Community,

I share this as an update regarding COVID-19. Be assured of our continued monitoring and implementation of protocols based on local, state, and federal recommendations. Our webpage is regularly updated and we are implementing enhanced protocols in our food service, residence halls, and bathrooms. We are committed to helping Eastern students, faculty, and staff take precautionary steps to minimize risk to our community.

Please note, that many of our hand sanitizing stations have not been refilled due to back ordered and limited availability of product which we hope will be resolved soon. Please regularly use available bathrooms to ensure sanitation. 

There is no evidence at present that our campus is unsafe. If there are any major developments in this evolving situation, we will promptly send an email to all students, faculty, and staff.

If you have parents, guardians, or constituents who would like to sign-up for ongoing COVID-19 information from Eastern University please sign-up here

Shortly, I will be sending an updated travel recommendation.

Respectfully,

Ronald A. Matthews

President, Eastern University 

Letter from the President 3/6/20

Dear Eastern University Community,


We want to update the University Community on COVID-19 and its impact on Eastern’s students, faculty and staff who may be traveling abroad.

As stated previously, no coronavirus cases have been reported at any of Eastern’s campuses and classes will continue as scheduled on Monday, March 9.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention elevated their travel warnings for several countries. As a result, Eastern University will require any students, faculty or staff who have traveled during the previous 14 days to countries designated by the CDC as having sustained transmission to self-monitor for 14 days from their arrival in the United States, before returning to classes or work at any of our campus sites. Faculty and staff members who are self-monitoring for this period should notify their chair or supervisor immediately. Students should notify Student Health immediately.

Self-monitoring for 14 days means staying at home and avoiding group gatherings and public spaces, including Eastern’s campuses. You should also monitor your own health with care.

Most importantly, if you develop a fever, cough or have difficulty breathing, you should immediately contact health care professionals such as your primary care physician or local health authorities.

Faculty members have been asked to provide alternative instructional options for students who need to spend time away from campus while they are self-monitoring. Because every class is different, students should contact their professors directly to inform them of the need to self-monitor and together determine the next steps to completing coursework remotely. Please contact your advisor for assistance if you need additional support to complete coursework off-campus.

Our intention is to make sure that if you do need to self-monitor, your academic work is minimally disrupted. Ensuring you receive academic instruction and support in a safe environment is our highest priority.  

Learn more about Eastern’s Coronavirus Updates and Prevention Planning here and for more in-depth information, visit the CDC website.

 

Sincerely,

Ronald A. Matthews

President, Eastern University 

Letter from the President 3/5/20

Dear Eastern University Community,

You have, no doubt, seen the recent and increasing number of media reports about the coronavirus and its movement throughout the world. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is very closely monitoring the characteristics and spread of the coronavirus. We have been following these reports and are developing scenarios depending on the realities we experience in the Philadelphia area. 

Currently there are no cases in Pennsylvania, but we are planning for all possibilities of what the coming weeks and months may present us. We have a team of staff and administrators that has been following this situation closely and preparing for a variety of possible outcomes. 

We have created a webpage at www.eastern.edu/coronavirus that everyone in our community can follow for updates. We currently have some basic preventative strategies common to preventing all viruses from spreading outlined on the webpage. As national and regional health organizations offer more information and recommendations, we will update the page with that information as well.   

The CDC has issued some basic recommendations that we encourage you to read here: Coronavirus Prevention & Treatment. Many of the recommendations are common-sense preventative strategies that we should all engage in, similar to preventing the flu. For example, students should wash their hands regularly and stay home from class or work if they are sick. While these things may seem minor, they are important for preventing the community spread of any virus. 

Our goal is to keep everyone in our community informed and safe. We care deeply about your students and will keep you updated with any information we receive.

I invite you to join us in prayer for both the safety of our community and for the world at large, particularly for those already affected by this outbreak. Let us pray for healing, safety, medical innovation, and the cessation of this virus. 

 

With appreciation,

Ronald A. Matthews

President, Eastern University 

Community Resources

Explore helpful COVID-19 resources for the Eastern University community on our Gather @ EU website.

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