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Welcome to spring quarter

Welcome to spring quarter from President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Updates on campus arrival testing and other preparations for spring quarter.

Dear Stanford community,

I’m delighted to welcome you to spring quarter. As our days get warmer and we approach the end of the academic year, I hope your work and studies are infused with the optimism, growth, and energy of spring. 

With the return from spring break, we are keeping a close eye on COVID as the presence of the BA.2 subvariant increases in many parts of the world. As an update, today we have 91 students isolating due to a positive COVID test, an increase from the last few weeks but lower than the levels we saw earlier in winter quarter. Student Affairs has been in touch with students about testing protocols. Color tests also remain available for all faculty, staff and postdocs; I encourage you to test if you are experiencing symptoms, concerned about possible exposure, or returning from travel. Face coverings are still required in classrooms, but as we shared earlier, we will be monitoring conditions and re-evaluating this requirement as appropriate.

There is much to look forward to at Stanford this spring – too much to cover in a brief message.  So, here are just a few highlights.

To our students, I hope you’re looking forward to beginning a new set of classes. An important milestone will be achieved this quarter when all first-year students fulfill the COLLEGE requirement, completing this shared academic experience for the full frosh class for the very first time. And as you immerse yourselves in your studies, I’m excited to see our campus come to life this spring with events like Farm Fest, which will bring the community together to connect over food, music and outdoor fun, and the beloved Frost Fest, which was paused during the pandemic years. Our campus will also be cheering on our Cardinal teams this spring—including Stanford women’s basketball as they head to the Final Four!

I’ll also highlight our new school focused on climate and sustainability, which is gathering further momentum as we work toward its opening this fall. More than a dozen new classes have been developed across a broad range of disciplines. The sustainability accelerator, created as part of the new school, issued its first call for grant proposals and received nearly 100 applications in response, for research projects encompassing everything from clean energy technologies, to mitigating the effects of climate change on biodiversity and on human health, to infrastructure resilience, and much more. The new school’s dean search committee, led by Provost Drell, is working hard to name a dean in the coming months. Meanwhile, Stanford’s second solar plant also came online in mid-March, which will allow us to achieve the important sustainability milestone of producing enough renewable electricity to exceed what our main campus consumes. 

Spring quarter also provides us with many opportunities to celebrate excellence in our community. This spring, we’ll recognize students, faculty, staff, and alumni through university awards—from the Amy J. Blue Awards, which honor extraordinary and dedicated members of our staff, to the President’s Awards for Excellence Through Diversity. Our community celebrations will culminate in not one, but two Commencements in June, to celebrate this year’s graduates and to welcome back members of the classes of 2020 and 2021. Commencement is always an important moment for community celebration, and I’m delighted we’ll have the opportunity to celebrate so many new and previous graduates this June.

While there is much to look forward to, I also want to acknowledge that many events have weighed very heavily on our community this year—including both the war in Ukraine and student deaths on campus. In times of distress or hardship, or anytime you need support, we are here to help through the many resources available at Stanford.

I am grateful every day for this community, and for the work that each of you do to support one another, to generate knowledge and understanding, and to seek solutions to our world’s challenges. I wish you all the best for the new quarter, and I look forward to celebrating our community with you this spring.

Sincerely, 
Marc Tessier-Lavigne