Update from Dean Geoff Garrett

Dear Wharton Alumni Family –

We are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis that quite literally has the potential to afflict every person on this planet. These unimaginable times can be isolating in many respects. But over the past couple of weeks, the ways in which the Wharton community has united for the good of each other and all human beings gives me immense hope.

I am moved by how our alumni all around the globe are helping one another. You have lined up to arrange career opportunities for students returning home from campus and for alumni who’ve experienced job loss, and you have helped secure urgently needed protective equipment for healthcare workers. Alumni have also contributed to classes by inspiring students with stories of leadership during times of crisis.

Last week at Wharton, we began remote delivery of 625 courses taught by more than 250 professors, with over 75 percent being taught fully synchronously. This massive effort is a testament to successful, efficient collaborations between our faculty and staff, as well as support from students at Wharton and Penn.

We have had strong interest in our course launched last week, “Epidemics, Natural Disasters, and Geopolitics: Managing Uncertainty.” The course — the largest in Wharton’s history with more than 2,000 enrollments — helps students earn credits they need to remain on track and explores critically important topics pertaining to the pandemic. Following each week’s session, we are creating 10-minute films featuring interviews from class presenters.

My hope is that these interviews will help Wharton alumni make insightful, informed, and data-driven decisions taking into account the health of the public and our economy. The first week includes an interview between Mauro Guillén and myself on the impact of the pandemic on globalism and an interconnected economy. In the weeks to come, there will be many alumni experts sharing from a multitude of perspectives, and we are grateful for their insights.

These are anxious times indeed. But witnessing our community galvanize in this way gives me amazing confidence. Caring and compassion can allay uncertainty and make us even stronger when we emerge. Our strength is a shared one, and I could not be prouder to be connected to this exceptional group of people.

– Geoff