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Lafayette Campus-Wide Email

To the Members of the Lafayette Community:

On Saturday morning, I spoke to parents who attended Family Weekend about the tremendous outpouring of grief, support, and compassion that occurred here on campus following the heinous attacks against our nation earlier this month. Because my remarks contained information that may be of special interest to alumni and others, I write now to the broader Lafayette family.

Immediately after the news of the terrorists’ actions reached campus, Colton Chapel was opened for prayer and meditation. College Chaplain Gary Miller and our other campus religious advisors, as well as staff members in the Counseling Center and the Student Residence and Student Activities offices, were available to meet with students and staff. On the evening of September 11, more than 500 members of the campus community gathered in front of the Farinon College Center for a moving candlelight vigil.

Classes were held as scheduled, at the discretion of faculty, many of whom led discussions focusing on the day’s events. All intercollegiate athletic events were cancelled or postponed through Sunday, September 16. At noon on September 14, hundreds of students, faculty, and staff filled Colton Chapel in observance of the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance as proclaimed by President George W. Bush. Noon-hour discussions and other programs have been scheduled to examine relevant religious and political issues.

I am especially proud of the solidarity and generosity demonstrated by our students. They raised funds for the benefit of the American Red Cross Disaster Fund and volunteered to give blood. On September 14, volunteers in the Landis Community Outreach Center delivered lunch to the local blood bank, where staff members had been working unusually long hours. Students of all faiths and nationalities have responded supportively and sensitively, and I am grateful to all of them.

It was also moving to learn of the thoughtfulness of the Alumni Affairs Office following the cancellation of the Lafayette-Princeton football game. The food that had been ordered for the pre-game tailgate was donated to Ladder Company No. 7 of the New York City Fire Department, where the husband of a member of Lafayette’s dining-services staff works.

While we reacted with shock and outrage as events unfolded in New York, Washington, and southwestern Pennsylvania, the tragedy assumed a personal face soon afterward as we learned of those among the missing who had direct ties to the College, including at least two of our alumni and close relatives of several of our students. Lafayette faculty and staff also lost family members and friends. Additional information will be provided in the fall issue of the Lafayette Magazine, which will be mailed in early November.

Given the unprecedented magnitude of the devastation, many other Lafayette families have doubtless lost loved ones, co-workers, and cherished friends. We extend our heartfelt condolences to all who have been affected.

It is of course impossible for an educational institution – even one named for as ardent a defender of liberty as the Marquis de Lafayette – to prevent an assault of the type our nation recently experienced. But throughout this difficult and painful time, our campus community has demonstrated the collective strength, commitment, and compassion that I firmly believe our founders had in mind when they expressed the hope that Lafayette College would stand as a bulwark against tyranny.

Arthur J. Rothkopf ’55

Categorized in: News and Features