A Message from University of Hartford President Gregory Woodward

June 01, 2020

University of Hartford President Gregory Woodward sent the following message to the University community on May 31, 2020.

Dear UHart Community,

I write to you this evening with sadness, anger, and concern—and with hope that you are safe. Our families, communities, nation, and world are being challenged in extraordinary ways. This weekend, we have seen anguish and unrest resulting from systemic racism, implicit bias, and hatred, spilling out into streets across the country. The deep-rooted history of these truths is real and millions of black people in our country feel them every day.

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubery. These names are now added to those of Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and many others whose names are known to many of you and those that are not. We, as a community, have a responsibility to them—and to each other—to do better.

The protests across the nation occur as we all continue to be challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic that is causing loss of life, loss of employment, and the loss of a sense of security for all Americans; yet, it is a pandemic that has disproportionately affected the African American and Latino populations. This fact adds to the anger and frustration, and shines a light on yet another issue that must be addressed in seeking equality and justice for all.

Your commitment to the University, to the power of education, and to the support of one another during this time is necessary. Our campus is proudly enriched by its diversity and engagement in shared values. We are committed to leveraging the expertise of our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and partners to do more. We must look beyond our own knowledge and experiences to learn to understand the broader world and all of its people. Here, it is our responsibility to ask big questions and lead hard conversations, even when that’s uncomfortable. I encourage you to share your thoughts, ideas, and programs that you feel can enhance additional understanding and needed change.

I know many of you are suffering in ways I cannot imagine. Each of us may have differing needs right now—a need to talk, a need to vent, a need for counsel, a need to plan. Students, our Division of Student Success staff are here for you and I encourage you to contact them at the email addresses below:

  • Torshia Anderson, Executive Director of Student Engagement and Inclusion,
  • Llonia Rojan-Jackson, Director, Student Engagement and Inclusion,
  • Patricia McKenna Grant, Executive Director for Student Health and Wellness,
  • Christine Grant, Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Community Engagement,
  • Jane Horvath, Special Assistant to the President for LGBTQ+ issues,
  • Jeff Burda, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, (available until June 12, when CAPS closes for the summer)

Faculty and staff should contact:

  • EAP (Employee Assistance Program) at 800.676.4357
  • Jen Conley, Interim Director, Human Resources Development, at
  • Christine Grant, Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Community Engagement,
  • Jane Horvath, Special Assistant to the President for LGBTQ+ issues,

It is painful to think that it was 55 years ago that Dr. Martin Luther King said, “How long will justice be crucified and truth be buried?” as the Montgomery to Selma March ended. Nevertheless, we must remember that he answered his own question saying, “Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Let us all be hopeful that the end of that arc is finally near and that justice will soon prevail.

I will close by wishing each of you good physical and mental health and the strength to work together to demand equity and justice for all people, while continuing to care for and support one another.

Gregory Woodward