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Thank You Note from President Fithian

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

In a normal year, the challenges involved with planning and launching a new semester are imposing. In 2020, they have been simply extraordinary. With the second full week of the semester drawing to a close, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has made reopening possible. This starts with each of you, for your diligent and admirable willingness to take the many personal steps that ensure that you and the Clark community stay healthy as we fulfill our educational mission together.

In-person learning amid a pandemic requires incredible attention to detail in so many regards, and the safety of the physical spaces we all share are fundamental to this experience. I’d like to extend a special thank you to our personnel who are doing the important work of cleaning and sanitizing Clark’s classrooms, residence halls, and common spaces. We could not be together without them.

In-person learning in this time also requires particular care around meals. Our Dining Services personnel are preparing and serving meals to our students throughout the day and evening using a thorough and demanding regimen, and I thank them for their readiness to adapt to these unique circumstances with such attention to detail.

Thank you, too, to the staff who are working in campus offices and from remote locations in essential areas like admissions, alumni relations, marketing and communications, student accounts, human resources, and career development. This work keeps Clark functioning at a high level for the tens of thousands of people who depend on us.

This past spring, our faculty responded swiftly and creatively to the rapidly spreading coronavirus by moving all classes online when the campus was forced to evacuate. With more time to plan this summer, many of our professors took part in rigorous training sessions for remote teaching, which they are now applying in their virtual classrooms. Faculty members who have chosen to teach in person have met the challenge of delivering a compelling academic experience from behind a mask and inside physical spaces that have had to be reimagined.

In closing, I would like to publicly acknowledge and thank the members of the committees listed below. They have devoted countless hours, including significant personal time, across these long summer months to determining if we could reopen safely and then to meeting the operational demands of doing so. They have addressed safety protocols, health research with the benefit of outside experts, the need for an effective COVID-19 testing facility in the Kneller Center, the development of the Healthy Clark website and numerous pandemic-related campus communications, new classroom technologies, sanitation practices in all Clark buildings, imaginative and safe solutions for the use of residential and dining spaces, new signage, and much more — including day by day assessing our progress and adapting where necessary.

Thanks to all of them, and all of you, for your continued efforts to make sure we are doing all we can to keep the great start to this semester going. This is a remarkable Clark effort, and everything you are doing to ensure it succeeds makes a difference.


David B. Fithian ’87


COVID-19 Health Advisory Board

  • John O’Brien (chair), former CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care
  • John Auerbach ’72, President and CEO of Trust for America’s Health
  • Patrick Derr, Professor of Philosophy
  • Alan Crane, Clark parent and health care entrepreneur at Polaris Partners
  • Dr. Michael Agus, Clark parent and head of Critical Care at Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Dr. Dennis Dimitri ’75, former Vice Chair of the Clinical Services Department of Family Medicine at UMass-Memorial Health Care
  • Yvonne Chan, Partner at Goodwin Law
  • Dennis Keefe, Chief Health Officer, Clark University, former President and CEO of Care New England Health Care System

Emergency Response Cabinet

  • David Baird, Provost
  • Katrina Banks-Binici, Assistant to the President
  • David Chearo, Vice President for Planning and Strategic Initiatives
  • Jim Collins, Chief Investment Office
  • Jack Foley, Vice President of Government and Community Affairs
  • Jeff Gillooly, Vice President for University Advancement
  • Betsy Huang, Dean of the College
  • John LaBrie, Dean of Professional Studies
  • Francy Magee, Dean of Students
  • Joe Kalinowski, Vice President of Information Technology & CIO
  • Pete Mackey, Acting Vice President of Marketing and Communications
  • Danielle Manning ’00, MBA ’06, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • Meredith Twombly, Vice President of Admissions and Financial Aid
  • Paul Wykes, Chief University Budget Officer
  • Gino DiIorio (Ad Hoc), Professor of Theater and Chair of the Faculty

Clark Reopening Committee Leadership

  • Davis Baird
  • David Chearo
  • Jack Foley (chair)
  • Joe Kalinowski
  • Dennis Keefe
  • Jim Keogh, Assistant VP of Marketing and Communications
  • Adam Keyes, Senior Associate Dean of Students and Director of COVID Testing Operations
  • John LaBrie
  • Francy Magee
  • John Ohotnicky, Registrar
  • Dan Roderick, Director of Facilities Management
  • Chris Williams, Associate Professor of Geography
  • Paul Wykes

COVID-19 Testing Facility Leadership

  • David Chearo
  • Adam Keyes
  • Joe Kalinowski

Scheduling and Organizational Assistance

  • George Bacher
  • Juliet French
  • Megan Horvitz

Implementation Plan Subcommittees


  • Yuko Aoyama, Dean of Research
  • Davis Baird
  • Mary-Ellen Boyle, Associate Professor, School of Management
  • Joanne Dolan, Director of Academic Technology and Client Support
  • Mark Davidson, Associate Professor of Geography
  • Abbie Goldberg, Professor of Psychology
  • Betsy Huang
  • Joe Kalinowski
  • John Ohotnicky
  • Laura Robinson, University Librarian
  • Laurie Ross, Associate Professor of IDCE


  • Trish Cronin, Athletic Director, and staff
  • Holly Dolan, Associate Professor of Practice
  • Mark Miller, Professor of Political Science

Student Life:

  • Megan Kersting, Director of Counseling Services
  • Adam Keyes
  • Francy Magee
  • Robin McNally, Director of Health Services
  • Debbie Merrill, Professor of Sociology
  • Kate Sawicki, former Director of Residential Life and Housing
  • Allie Shilling, Director of Campus Life

Facilities Management:

  • David Chearo
  • Ellen Foley, Associate Professor of IDCE
  • Joe Kalinowski
  • Dan Roderick
  • Ravi Sharma, Associate Professor of Philosophy
  • Chris Williams

Business Office:

  • David Everitt, Director of Human Resources
  • Jackie Geoghegan, Professor of Economics
  • Hugh Manon, Associate Professor of Visual and Performing Arts
  • Michael Newmark, General Manager of Dining Services
  • Tony Penny
  • Paul Wykes

Health Issues/Testing/Containment/Benchmarks:

  • Chuck Agosta, Professor of Physics
  • Dennis Keefe
  • Jack Foley
  • Ellen Foley
  • Adam Keyes
  • Francy Magee
  • Robin McNally
  • Justin Thackery, Associate Professor of Biology
  • Kristen Williams, Professor of Political Science


  • Rob Boatright, Professor Political Science
  • Ashley Hadley, Director of Marketing Outreach and Engagement
  • Jim Keogh
  • Deb Robertson, Professor of Biology
  • Kristina Wilson, Professor of Visual and Performing Arts


  • Erica Beachy, Director of Wellness Education
  • Lamara Burgess, Director of Student Support Management
  • Ashley Hadley
  • Michael Hardej, Associate Director of Campus Life for SLP
  • Derrick Hicks, Associate Director of Residential Life and Housing
  • Jenny Isler, Director of Sustainability
  • Lea Ann O’Neill, Assistant Director of Planning and Capital Projects
  • Peyton Wu, Associate Director of Multicultural and First-Generation Student Support

Student Assistants

  • Hamza Baig ’21
  • Michael Oluwafemi, SOM
  • Shrutilekha Patankar, SOM
  • Priyanka Shrestha, IDSC
  • Rose Wine ’20 (Care Kits)