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"No challenge is too grand for our faculty" : A letter of thanks May 8, 2020

Andrew D'Elia, Vice-President Academic, McMaster Engineering Society recognizes how the Fireball Family has come together while apart during an unprecedented time.

Dear McMaster Engineering Faculty,

It is with utmost gratitude that, on behalf of the entire Faculty of Engineering student body, I congratulate you on the success of this term under the most unprecedented of circumstances. Despite school closure, logistical challenges, and around-the-clock video meetings, our faculty has shown its solidarity in handling this situation with both haste and grace. It is a testament to the principles that engineering stands to represent–a true reflection of the grit, autonomy, and ingenuity of our community.

From the minute that COVID-19 was identified to be more than just the common cold, the Faculty of Engineering worked in the most perfect syncytium. Not only to develop unforeseen contingency plans, increase institutional accessibility, and keep our students in line with degree requirements, but to also join in the fight and support the world at large. 

Although we have all distanced ourselves to keep our communities safe, many have also seen this pandemic as a call to action. From faculty-led student projects creating retrofitted face-masks, to new, at-home COVID-19 testing technologies to prevent health care saturation, once again McMaster engineering has set an example for institutions around the world. Congratulations to all of our students, staff, and faculty that remain hard at work to accelerate our efforts and narrow our sights on a solution. It seems all the more fitting now to deduce that in this community, we aren’t afraid to pivot, nor do we fear it when the need presents itself. Although we may have only planned for one major “pivot” this year, this unforeseen series of events has demonstrated that no challenge is too grand for our faculty.

To all of our visiting professors, IAI’s, and teaching assistants in addition to our faculty, thank you for upholding the quality of our students’ education. Your effort to minimize the implications of online course delivery and refusal to compromise the objectives of your courses is inspiring. Your wit, creativity, and compliance in this new learning environment has ensured that our students will not miss out on learning opportunities at the cost of their own safety. You have truly set the bar for fellow institutions in these highly trying times. From emergency curriculum and department meetings, to online lectures and back again, all while being there for your own families, you have demonstrated what being part of the fireball family is all about.

I would like to thank the members of our faculty that continue to provide our students with opportunities to get involved on campus through means of research, course development, etc. Your cooperation with our ECCS department and willingness to uphold your support of summer placements has provided many students with the chance to continue their learning, grow their skills, and financially sustain themselves. I would also like to thank you for your cooperation with our academic advising department staff, who are working tirelessly to ensure that students are able to access resources and make informed decisions about their academic records in light of recent policy changes. 

The challenges our world, our country, and our families have faced over these past months have undeniably contributed to McMaster’s rich history as an institution. More than ever, students are proud to belong to such a tight-knit, spirited, and resilient community. They have discovered new ways to connect, capture their creativity, take care of themselves and others, contribute, and learn. We have been allowed the opportunity to see this world in a different lens, discovering things that we can perhaps take back with us when things come back into place. Falling out of routine has catalyzed so many great moments for us with messages of hope, collaboration, and invention. What may be keeping us apart, in so many ways, has only brought us closer together. This, we owe partly to you.

I look forward to looking back on this time as a triumph that truly demonstrated what it means to be an engineer. Again, on behalf of the MES and all of our students, we thank you for all of your hard work in ensuring the success of our students.

Warm regards,

Andrew D'Elia
Vice-President Academic
McMaster Engineering Society