Historic Fall Semester was Monumental Team Effort -- Thank You!

November 25, 2020


Dear Iowa State Community,

It is with an enormous sense of gratitude that we write to you on the last day of fall semester 2020.

Today we’re pleased to recognize the accomplishments of faculty, staff, and students, along with community partners; announce the new policy on university property names; and uphold the importance of ISU’s Principles of Community.

This historic semester was a monumental team effort. Iowa State University’s ability to complete a successful on-campus experience took the full commitment and coordination of every single member of the ISU community. In the face of extraordinary circumstances, the entire campus came together with a common goal to support students and maintain excellence in teaching, research, and extension and outreach programs. No, it wasn’t perfect. But together, the ISU community learned, we adjusted, and we forged ahead on a path built on the Cyclone spirit of collaboration, care, creativity, and innovation.

These numbers highlight faculty, staff, and students’ incredible achievements.

2,171 — the number of students who will graduate this weekend. The ISU community celebrates their resilience and determination to overcome the difficulties of their final semester and finish their degrees. Please join us for virtual commencement weekend with prerecorded ceremonies posted at 10 a.m. (central time) on Saturday, Nov. 28.

25,156 (and counting) — the number of COVID-19 tests performed on campus since Aug. 1, thanks to the incredible partnership and expertise led by the Thielen Student Health Center and the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and supported by numerous staff representing units across campus. Their efforts day in and day out, combined with the diligent work of case managers and contact tracers, were key to supporting health and wellness.  

55 — the number of faculty and staff recognized with 2020 University Awards for advancing excellence across the university’s mission. Take a moment to read about their achievements and offer your congratulations to them.

36 — the number of faculty receiving 2020 Teaching Innovation Awards from the Office of Senior Vice President and Provost for their creative — and quick — work to transition courses to virtual instruction for students after spring break in March.

647 — the number of nominations received for the COVID-19 Exceptional Effort Awards Program. This is indicative of the large number of faculty, staff, and graduate students who worked so hard to help ISU overcome the challenges of the pandemic. We can’t thank you enough. Recipients will be announced in December.

304 — today, November 25, is “COVID Day 304,” counting the number of days since ISU began its coordinated, institution-wide team response to the pandemic — starting on January 27. The intention is to keep the Emergency Operations Center team activated until vaccinations at scale can be completed.

2,502 — the number of undergraduate students registered for the new winter session.

61 — the number of days until the start of spring semester. We deeply appreciate the ongoing efforts of the entire ISU community to plan and prepare for the spring semester. The pandemic will continue to be a dynamic situation, with ups and downs that we all will experience in the coming weeks and months. Just as our faculty, staff, and students worked together, and with our community partners, to carry-on and persevere through all the challenges since the pandemic began, we know that our campus community will meet future challenges in the best Cyclone tradition. 

New policy on university property names. Established last summer, the Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming met throughout the fall semester and completed its charge “to develop a policy to ensure a consistent, evidence-based, and historically thoughtful means by which to evaluate historical naming and honors.” The policy development process and the opportunity for campus feedback were shared in Inside Iowa State.

Today, the Consideration of Removing Names from University Property policy was approved and is now included in the University Policy Library. More information on next steps can be found on the Consideration of Removing Names website.

We thank the committee’s co-chairs, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Reginald Stewart and Faculty Senate President Carol Faber, and all the members of the committee for their work on this important issue during a very busy and challenging fall semester.

Building a welcoming and inclusive ISU. As a land-grant university, ISU works to create and share knowledge with the world  and in doing so, increase our understanding of one another. The Principles of Community clearly show all of us how we can learn from each other, grow in our views, and reach a new, better understanding of our world and each other.




Richness of diversity

Freedom from discrimination

Honest and respectful expression of ideas

These principles have informed how campus has been able to reach the end of this semester with a strong Cyclone spirit, and that by working together — and learning from each other — the Iowa State community can address any situation.

Every member of the Iowa State community can serve as affirmers of these principles — allowing them to lead us in every encounter, letting them take hold in shaping how we live our lives together, and having them serve as fundamental expectations for all of us to create a welcoming and inclusive ISU.

Wishing you, and your friends and families, an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday,

Wendy Wintersteen


Jonathan Wickert

Senior Vice President and Provost


Toyia Younger

Senior Vice President for Student Affairs

Pam Cain

Senior Vice President for Operations and Finance