Averett Welcomes Employees Back to Campus, Celebrates with Neighborhood Parade

Posted on August 12th, 2020 by Matt Bell

Averett University got creative for its 2020-21 opening of the academic year kick-off events Monday, Aug. 10.

The annual faculty and staff kick-off meeting was held via Zoom instead of in person. Later in the afternoon, a drive-thru social was held in front of the home of Averett President Dr. Tiffany Franks and her husband, Joe.

More than 100 participants, including neighbors, students and employees and their families, drove down Hawthorne Drive in front of the Franks’ home to celebrate campus reopening, many with their vehicles decorated with Averett gear and colors. Participants were greeted from their cars by the Franks and other campus leaders, and were given individually packaged blue and gold cupcakes, in appreciation for all they give to Averett. A contest was also held for the best decorated vehicles from campus and from the neighborhood.

“We had to reimagine our normal August opening events,” said Dr. Franks. “Just as we ask our students to be agile and resilient, we’ve had to do the same with these longstanding traditions and events. Especially during these unprecedented, challenging  times, we needed to be reunited as one averett – even if virtually or at a safe distance.  energy and excitement was still palpable!”

Nearly 200 members of the Averett faculty and staff participated in the Zoom opening meeting, during which members of Averett’s COVID-19 Campus Team updated faculty and staff on the many preparations made for all to return to campus this fall semester.

“Some call it the new normal, but we call it our now normal.  We are learning to live with COVID-19 in ways we didn’t think imaginable,” Franks said.

The program also recapped the accomplishments of the previous five-year strategic plan, and introduced the next plan, “Averett 2025: Bigger Dreams. Bolder Futures.”

New employees were recognized during the presentation, and the 2020 Outstanding Faculty and Staff Members of the Year were announced. Thomas Underwood, director of sports medicine and head athletic trainer, received the staff member award. Dr. Jennifer Hughes, associate professor of English and chair of Language, Literature and Culture department, received the faculty member award.

Residential students will continue to move into their campus housing through the weekend, and the University will begin classes on Aug. 19.

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