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Moravian Gives Thanks

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The year has been difficult, but we are resilient. Thanksgiving arrives and brings each of us a respite, a time to embrace family traditions and reflect on all that is good. Inside Moravian asked students, alumni, faculty, and staff to share their gratitude and Thanksgiving traditions—a little inspiration for all.

What are you thankful for this year?

I'm thankful for the Moravian College Community. I am thankful for the faculty that spent all summer learning how to provide an effective education through online and hybrid means. I am thankful for the staff who worked tirelessly to prepare the campus so that we could be safe and for all those staff who did contract tracing, disinfecting, and feeding those who were ill or in quarantine. And I am most thankful for the students who demonstrated that college students could act responsibly and protect one another and their campus. I'll be forever grateful for this year and for this community.—Bryon Grigsby ’90 P’22, president of Moravian College

 I'm thankful for my family and the strength they all showed when my grandmother passed away last May. This will be our first Thanksgiving without her, which is very hard for all of us. Despite being divided by conflicting political ideologies and limited by the pandemic, my family remained united and supported one another through the grieving process.—Seth Rappaport ’21

I am thankful for the little blessings in my life. I am healthy and gainfully employed with a roof over my head and love in my life. I am also thankful I was able to share my knowledge and experience with others this year.—Sam Anderson ’13

 During this year that has been difficult in many ways, I am thankful for hot tea and dark chocolate, and more seriously, for my amazing and supportive friends and colleagues. I am especially thankful for my friends who are there when I just need to remember what it feels like to have non-Zoom human interaction, e.g., those who agree to hiking no matter the weather.—Shannon Talbot, associate professor of mathematics

Looking back on 2020, I am thankful for attending a college that provided a sense of normalcy in the midst of chaos. Moravian College blessed me with the opportunity to engage in my studies while being physically present in the classroom, which is not something that a lot of colleges were able to do for their students this semester.

—Hannah Katz ’22

 Reflecting upon 2020, there are many things that I am thankful for. I am thankful for my loved ones, and the technology that has allowed us to stay connected when we were unable to be six-feet apart. I am thankful for my health and the ability to walk, run, jump, dance, and stay active. I am thankful for books and magazines and the opportunities to peel my eyes away from a screen to read. I am thankful for each day, as each day is a new opportunity to make a better tomorrow.—Mykayla Biechy ’18, assistant director of financial aid services

I am especially thankful for the flexibility shown by everyone on campus with teaching, learning, administration, and campus life. I’m also grateful for Zoom and the other ways we can connect these days while keeping physical distance. I’m grateful to the people who have been on the front lines during this crisis: healthcare, government, food service, deliveries, maintenance, and cleaning staff. Most importantly, I am thankful for my spouse who has been an excellent quarantine partner. We’ve stayed healthy and reasonably sane. And I’m thankful for all of those teachers, coaches, and church folk who taught me to be resilient and hopeful during challenging times. I’ve had books to read, music to enjoy, and students to teach, which is my recipe for happiness. Sadly, only two of our children will be with us for the holiday, but we will still enjoy preparing and eating our traditional feast. This year will be even more precious.—Craig Atwood, interim dean of the seminary and professor of Moravian theology

I’m thankful that we at last have the promise of a return to a political environment that is slightly less contemptuous of facts and objective reality.—Christopher Jones, professor of biology

This year, I am thankful for the copious amount of time I've had to bake things that I would've not taken the time to experiment with before, for example, an apple galette or mixed berry jam.—Giulianna Young ’18, assistant director of admissions

I am incredibly thankful that the faculty and administrators at Moravian were able to navigate COVID restrictions during the summer and allow SOAR students like me to safely come on campus for our research!—Charlotte Reid ’22

I am thankful for my family, my friends, and those I work with every day. I feel blessed that I get to spend time and interact with all these folks, even in the COVID situation we are in. Finally, and particularly in 2020, I am thankful for the relatively good health of all those with whom I have relationships.—Jon Conrad, vice president of human resources

People were driven apart from each other in so many ways over the past year. As a theater artist, I am used to working very closely with people on projects that attempt to bring people together. That work was very difficult in 2020. I am thankful that I was able to find ways to continue to collaborate —with fellow artists, with students, and with faculty colleagues—in ways that still felt meaningful despite the many obstacles.—Christopher Shorr, associate professor of theater arts

I’m thankful that my law school graduation was virtual. It may sound strange, but I was Rutgers Law’s 2020 student commencement speaker, and had my graduation been in person, I would have only received four tickets. I have a big family, spread across the United States, and a virtual ceremony meant everyone got to experience my graduation the same way at the same time. It was really special seeing how many people in different states were live -treaming my speech.—Nina DePalma ’17, a tenancy staff attorney working at Volunteer Lawyers for Justice doing eviction defense and the lead staff attorney for our community legal education program. 

I am thankful for a beautiful and loving family and the scarlet and gray warriors that are The Ohio State University Buckeyes football team.—Joel Nathan Rosen, associate professor of sociology and anthropology

Growing up, my father always stressed how important family is and would say that if you have your family, you have everything. As children, my sisters and I would roll our eyes because he was "corny," but of course as I got older, I realized how true his words were. I was blessed with a loving family growing up and was then blessed with my own loving family; they bring support in difficult times and add joy to the happy times. I am thankful for my immediate family, my extended family, my friends who are like family, and of course, my Moravian family.—Pat Murray Hanna ’82, assistant director of career development

Looking back at 2020, I am most thankful for the gift of family and friends, also, for the birth of my new nephew Eli.—Matthew Velekei ’09, fourth-grade teacher, Nazareth Area Intermediate School

When the pandemic hit, I was half-way through chemotherapy for a small tumor, which was discovered in November of last year during a routine elective surgery. I was able to finish the last half of the chemo treatments despite the pandemic, and in mid-June, I received as clean a bill of health as the medical profession will give you—until the end of five years after the initial diagnosis. While it will take years to grow my hair back to the shoulder length at which I had worn it for most of my life pre-chemotherapy, at least I now have hair that I am not self-conscious to show in public, so I am thankful for both the clinical and cosmetic progress, to say nothing of the fact that I am feeling fine.—Debra Dion Faust, '73

I am thankful for my family which grew with the birth of our third son, Reid Samuel in August, the opportunity to give back to Moravian College as an adjunct faculty member in the amazing MBA Program, and finally despite many challenges with the public health pandemic of COVID-19, I am blessed with serving both here in Pennsylvania and nationally to partner with other thought leaders in the public and private sectors to address health inequities.—Geoffrey Roche ’08, executive director of strategic healthcare initiatives and partnerships at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

I am very happy that I ran a spring break class (IDIS 161.2 All About Prague) this year!  I had a very enthusiastic group of students who were ready to embrace all the trip had to offer. We left for Prague while the United States was still open to travel. We left Prague for Vienna, as the first cases appeared in the Czech Republic and just days before the country went into a total lockdown. And we returned home from Vienna without having to quarantine here. Most importantly, we did not get infected nor did we infect anyone. The trip was fabulous, and I hope to do it again once the world reopens because the students found the trip very rewarding. I am extremely grateful that Moravian College also acted prudently and put in enough restrictions so many classes could be held in persons. The worst scenarios did not materialize, and I hope will not materialize this year. May we all stay healthy!—Eva Marikova Leeds, professor of economics

I am thankful this year for friends and family that I can talk to and who are always around during these difficult times. It makes a crappy year much better.—Andrew Cohen ’10, principal scientist at Roche Diagnostics, Branchburg, NJ

Looking at 2020, I am grateful to be among those who still love—and like—my spouse, during this pandemic. I am grateful for all those who have risked so much to care for others who are suffering. I am grateful for the enduring love of family and friends.

—Lyn Trodahl Chynoweth ’68

Like most, I am grateful for the love of family and friends, but I want to give a special shout-out to my husband, Joel Nathan Rosen, with his heart full of love, who is one of the finest men I’ve ever known, and to my sons, Michael and Benjamin, who are truly remarkable young men and who have filled my life with meaning and joy from the day they were born.

In my work, I am grateful for the students, faculty, staff, and especially alumni who through their courage and generosity have shared their inspiring stories with the entire Moravian College Community in our magazine and newsletters. You are the reason I love what I do.—Claire Kowalchik, editor Inside Moravian and Moravian College Magazine

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