Pandemic Silver Linings

By William Masselli ~ Editor in Chief

Photo of President Alison Morrison-Shetlar smiling for the camera. Photo retrieved from on Aug. 17, 2021. 

The three pillars of leadership, innovation, and inclusion are still in the forefront of President Alison Morrison-Shetlar vision for the University of Lynchburg as she enters her second year at its helm. 

Reflecting on her first year, President Morrison-Shetlar said, “This last year has been a very challenging year, but obviously it had a lot of great opportunities as well. The biggest challenges were for us to create a safe and welcoming environment through the process of COVID. The biggest win for me was the fact that a lot of things arose from this pandemic. These things proved to be silver linings such as the way we delivered food on campus via to go boxes. Many students still want to keep this option open after COVID. There were many big wins in my first year here because we saw some practices that we talked about changing for awhile, and COVID gave us a great opportunity to correct these practices. My biggest win was the work that the students did to stay on campus, albeit differently. I give the students all the accolades because they did everything right for the right reasons. We all learned a lot from last year.” 

As the pandemic continues to rage around the country, President Morrison-Shetlar said, “We had to modify these policies further during the pandemic to make sure everyone was safe, well, and welcome on campus. Post-pandemic is not the right term at the moment because we knew that the variants would come up, but we did not know when they would come up. We changed our academic calendar year to where it mirrored that of last year. We started two weeks earlier than our counterparts, so students can leave before Thanksgiving Day.”

As the university forges ahead, she said, “I look forward to having students back on campus and being able to get to what I call the ‘no normal’ because we are different and better as a result of going through COVID together and learning from it. I am most looking forward to getting back to as normal as it can be. We try to make the University of Lynchburg experience the best it can be.”  

Photo (above) of President Alison Morrison-Shetlar laughing and enjoying company. Photo retrieved from  on Aug. 17, 2021. 

President Morrison-Shetlar noted, “As you know, when I came in, I talked about the vision for the university and came up with the following three pillars: leadership development, innovation and strategic partnerships, and inclusive excellence. This came with a lot of conversation from former alumni, former faculty, former staff, former students, current students, and current faculty and staff. We have elevated those three areas, so in the short-term, we made sure that all our students get the experiences they need because our students need to get involved in leadership, become innovative, and immerse themselves in diverse environments, as these three pillars accurately represent the global environment. Hence, the three pillars have really shaped and formed our institution.”  

The University of Lynchburg Board of Trustees will officially inaugurate President Morrison-Shetlar on October 1. Find out more about President Alison Morrison-Shetlarat 

Key words: President Alison Morrison-Shetlar, Lynchburg, Virginia, Higher Education, College, University, University of Lynchburg, Lynchburg College, October, August, COVID

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