Welcome to the fall 2020 semester. It is a semester unlike any other we have faced before. We're about to embark on an unchartered journey together. Given the talent that we have and the quiet determination I've seen over the last six months from the D'Amore-McKim community, I'm confident about our ability to craft a thriving future.  

Over the summer and with Science as our guide, we have seen thoughtful and robust planning around the re-open of our university. While keeping the safety and health of our faculty, staff, and students as the topmost priority, Northeastern has invested time and resources in developing a robust testing infrastructure, instituting workplace safety protocols, and re-thinking student services. Through a collaborative process and with input from several stakeholders, we have diligently prepared to offer NUFlex – a curricular platform that offers safe, socially-distanced, on-campus educational experiences for this academic year.

While we have prepared thoughtfully, this academic year will be unlike any other that we've seen in the past. I know there have been many things thrown at you regarding our re-opening over the last few weeks, but I'm confident that we'll get through it together. I've been chatting with several students on campus recently, and they are really excited for new beginnings. They are eager to start their study, engage with you – our faculty and staff – meet new people, and make new friends. We're advising them to be patient as we all adjust to a new normal. They also appear to be taking the pandemic seriously as evidenced by the current low seven-day positivity rate of 0.06 percent showcased on the Northeastern testing dashboard. I see them wearing masks at all times and maintaining social distancing.

Before we start a new chapter, I would like to once again place on record my heartfelt gratitude to all of you for your exceptional efforts and great commitment to complete the spring 2020 semester and navigate the summer semesters successfully. I saw firsthand how our community banded together and worked hard to fulfill our mission. 

  • Our faculty worked tirelessly to ensure world-class educational experiences for our students and many of them served on university and school-wide task forces to help prepare for the fall and think strategically about the future;
  • Our Faculty Administrative team found new ways to ensure our academic groups had the foundation to be successful during uncertainty;
  • The Undergraduate and Graduate program teams delivered great experiences for our current students, while also ensuring that we attract and yield high-quality incoming classes; 
  • The Co-op and Graduate Career Services teams navigated extremely difficult circumstances and spent countless hours (often nights and weekends) to ensure as many students as possible could still have their desired business experience;
  • The Development team found new and interesting ways to connect our alumni with their office and with each other;
  • The Corporate Learning team continued to deliver on great programming while also working on new and exciting opportunities for the future;       
  • And last but not least, the teams within the Dean's Office often worked around the clock to ensure the school and all its moving parts remained highly functioning and connected, including Human Resources, Budget/Operations, Communications, Faculty Services, IT Services, and Instructional Design.

It's clear that our resilience has been in full display over the last six months. I have seen incredible compassion and kindness from our community, as well as adaptability that augurs well for the future. Not only did we focus on current execution, but we also engaged in thoughtful exploration of what we should be doing differently in the future. Owing to the diligence and innovativeness of our community, we have generated many ideas to build a vibrant future. I look forward to socializing and implementing these ideas with you in the near future. 

I believe that business education at D'Amore-McKim is especially noble. We pioneered education powered by experiential learning – a model that has stood the test of time. We provide wide-ranging access to opportunities so that our students can go out and make an impact on the world. We espouse a humanics-infused curricular philosophy that develops well-rounded students who can help build a more inclusive economy. In the midst of these challenging times created by the global pandemic, D'Amore-McKim remains steadfast in our mission to generate impactful research and develop enlightened leaders in order to shape the future of business in a landscape shaped by digital convergence. 

Despite the weight of COVID-19 upon us, I'm confident about the success of this new academic year. Let us look out for each other, be kind to one another, and do the right thing. By doing so, we will endure these trying times gracefully and come out of this test with flying colors. We owe this to the future generations of D'Amore-McKim. As always, thank you for all you do to make our school a great place to learn and work.

Raj Echambadi
Dunton Family Dean
D'Amore-McKim School of Business