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April 3 Message from President Liz Maw

Dear PGS Community,

These past few weeks have been extraordinary. The shelter-in-place orders issued across the Bay Area, statewide in California, and across the country have affected our entire community. In response, we have moved all instruction, community events, and admissions activities online. I am happy to report that thanks to the resilience and hard work of our faculty, students, and administration team, we have been successful at adapting our curriculum and operations to this new environment.

One of the many things on my mind over the past few weeks is this feeling of living history. Often, when a world-changing historical event happens fast and comes as a shock, such as was the case with the 9/11 Terror Attacks. Other times events move more slowly with momentum building up. The Great Recession is a vivid example. The COVID-19 pandemic has been both a fast-moving shock and a slow-motion build – fast enough to completely disrupt the globe in a few short weeks, and slow enough to creep into our consciousness in all matters of our daily life.

Like all of you, I’m discovering my personal coping habits and what triggers anxiety. I am so lucky to have a meaningful, wonderful job with a great community of people around me who care deeply about making things better. I’m also fortunate to be healthy and have family members safe and healthy so far. It is my great hope that this note also finds all of you safe and healthy and that you continue to be so.

The outpouring of support in the community in this time of crisis is incredible. Yesterday, Student Reps shared the Mutual Aid details with me, and I’m touched and proud of the student leaders who got this going. Hats off to you.

PGS, as an institution, is also trying to do everything we can to support our community right now. I am so proud of our academic team and faculty who have put a tremendous amount of effort into our online transformation of Residency. Thank you. Also, hats off to our Student Experience team who have supported outstanding efforts across the community to gather and connect.

I’m thrilled to announce that one of the steps we’re taking to support our students is to offer an “opt-in” option for credit/non-credit grades this semester to alleviate stress for those who would like it. You’ll see an email from Provost Dariush Rafinejad will communicate more details on this change. I hope this added flexibility helps students who would find it helpful to opt-in this format.

I know that some students may be experiencing financial hardships during this difficult time. We recognize that the planned tuition increase might be too much for some to bear, especially in these times. We are looking into ways we can offer transparent, fair tuition support to students for fall 2020 and will be in touch in the next few weeks with further details.

Best wishes,


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