Dear Marietta College Family:

In my more than 40 years of working in higher education — 15 as a President — there has never been a more exciting first day of classes — NOT EVER!!!!

This is not meant to slight the past or insinuate that I did not enjoy the beginning of those academic years. However, with everything everyone has had to do to make sure we could return to in-person learning during a world-wide pandemic is simply amazing.

Everyone — students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and community members — makes me so proud to be a part of this amazing family we call PioNation.

As we begin a new and exciting academic year, I want to offer a very warm Pioneer welcome to our new students, as well as an enthusiastic greeting to all of our returning students — some of whom may be starting their final year as undergraduates — CONGRATULATIONS!!!

I wish there was a way to bottle up the excitement generated by the start of a new academic year. There is so much anticipation and enjoyment as everyone gets reacquainted with friends, faculty and staff, and new friendships are developed.

While we have not been able to offer all of the typical activities that are associated with a new school year, I am still seeing first-hand what it means when we say Pioneer Pride. By embracing this spirit — and by following the new rules that are associated with mitigating the spread of COVID-19 — we have a great chance of completing the fall semester without any interruptions.

Like all of you, I know we will be back to normal soon and be able to gather for all-campus picnic, pack Ban Johnson Arena for a basketball game and, more importantly, have an in-person commencement ceremony for the Class of 2021 (and at some point an in-person commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 as well).

Marietta College is where you will enjoy a close collaboration with talented professors, learn in great classrooms and labs, and have an opportunity to conduct extensive undergraduate research. As a Pioneer, your potential is unlimited.

This fall, we welcome approximately 375 new students — many of whom were among their high school’s highest achieving students.

As you walk around our beautiful 90-acre campus, which is part of Marietta’s historic downtown district, you will detect some beautiful enhancements to our landscaping, as well as changes that were necessary because of COVID-19.

Marietta College students come from almost every state in the nation and from across the world. That diversity of people and opinions will make a positive impact on your overall experience at Marietta. We remain steadfast in our commitment to fostering a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for the entire community, regardless of race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, beliefs, or perspectives.

Best wishes for a memorable and successful 2020-21 at Marietta College. We are so glad you are here.

Bring Forth a Pioneer!

Bill Ruud
President and Professor of Management