Dear Campus Community,

Now that we’ve made it through the first week of the spring semester, I wanted to take a moment to welcome everyone back to campus, express my thanks and ask a favor. I’m always excited and a bit nervous at the start of a new semester. The excitement comes from seeing everyone back on campus and getting to work with a new group of great Mines students in my 7:30 a.m. Chemical Fate and Transport class. The nervousness is partly from wondering if I’ll be able to keep up with those students (and keep them awake) and partly from experience. Semesters always start with a few bumps and some uncertainty.

I suspect that we all share that start-of-the-semester excitement and nervousness, and that those feelings have been magnified by the pandemic. There definitely was a special energy and excitement this past fall when we welcomed to campus our largest incoming class of students – many of whom had not experienced in-person learning or extracurricular activities for almost two years. There also has been heightened nervousness caused by the ever-changing nature of the pandemic.

We are approaching this semester as we have preceding semesters. We have been pragmatic and we’ve all been part of the effort. That has served us well and we should be proud of what we have accomplished. We’ve been able to deliver on our goals of providing the hands-on Mines education and professional preparation we are famous for, keeping our research and innovation engine running, moving forward with our MINES@150 plans, and supporting each other.

I want to thank everyone for being part of those efforts. We have a great community and it shows.

In closing, I have a favor to ask. While we are all part of the effort, some have a much heavier lift – for example, the CRIT team members responding to positive cases and questions, the Student Life team supporting students in isolation, and the faculty who are supporting student learning outside of class hours. Let’s all do what we can to help our heavy lifters. That starts with following our COVID-19 protocols – wearing masks indoors on campus, staying current on vaccinations/boosters, monitoring our health, staying home when ill and cooperating with contact tracing if you test positive – and letting them know how much we appreciate their efforts.

Best wishes to all of you for a successful semester. There’s going to be a lot going on – I’m looking forward to watching the E-Days fireworks, seeing the construction of the Labriola Innovation Hub and Beck Venture Center, cheering on our student-athletes and celebrating all your great accomplishments.

Take care – Go Orediggers!


Paul C. Johnson, PhD
President and Professor