COVID-19: A Letter from the President

Fortiter et Suaviter

At FDU, our motto speaks to our heart, our character and our very reason for being, in ways that I have been reminded of time and time again over the past six months.

A portrait of FDU President Christopher Capuano

(Photo: John Emerson)

Fortiter means bravely, boldly or strongly, while suaviter translates as sweetly, gently or even pleasurably. Boldly and gently we move amid unprecedented challenges to serve students in innovative and creative ways that will prepare them for a lifetime of success. No one should expect any less.

Fortiter et suaviter — with strength, conviction and great caring — FDU has endured every challenge since being founded at the dawn of World War II. Then, as now, the future was clouded by fear and uncertainty, but the COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges unlike anything ever seen. Throughout the pandemic, our community has endured with all the grit and determination possible to muster. And every action and reaction has been driven by one dominant priority: the health and welfare of each member of the FDU community.

Under that umbrella, we could delve deeper into what we do best, and we did, from faculty quickly transitioning to teaching online courses to staff moving to establish remote support services to students setting up makeshift study halls in virtual spaces. Words cannot express how proud I am and how grateful I am to everyone for their patience and understanding.

And then there are those community members, including alumni, who have been selflessly working on the front lines of the struggle against the coronavirus, risking their own well-being to serve others. We will always owe these extraordinary people our gratitude, and we salute them!

You will read here about some of these individuals. You will also read here about some of the actions taken in the last months to serve students and advance the University’s mission. You will read here of plans for the fall and how we will continue the dreams of founder Peter Sammartino in the midst of an uncertain world.

Faculty and staff have been working tirelessly over the summer preparing lessons and making arrangements as well as developing contingency plans. We have had to make some changes and adjustments in what we do, and we know we might have to make more changes on the fly. I don’t know honestly how this academic year will play out, but I do know the blueprint for continued success, and that’s joining hands together, figuratively for now, but together in spirit, resolve and commitment.

And so we move forward, fortiter et suaviter, with courage and caring, with bravery and pleasure. What FDU does makes a profound and transformative difference. Education matters. As vividly illustrated by the pandemic, the sacrifices and efforts of so many have been guided by the training and education they have received. Education will always be our strongest weapon in any struggle. Bring on the future. FDU is ready.

Yours in FDU,
Christopher A. Capuano, President
Fairleigh Dickinson University