Gallery: UArizona marks two-year anniversary of COVID-19
Two years after the University of Arizona adjusted its operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the campus community came together Wednesday to reflect on losses, recall lessons learned and celebrate resiliency.
As part of the "Day of Memory, Healing, and Hope," 2,800 white flags were placed in the grass on the University of Arizona Mall – one flag for every 10 Arizonans lost to COVID-19. Students, employees and members of the wider community were invited to share memorial messages on the flags throughout the day.
University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins led a commemoration ceremony Wednesday morning on the Mall's main stage. He praised the campus community's flexibility as classes and operations moved online, as well as the university's leadership in the regional and statewide response to the pandemic and the commitment of faculty, staff and students to keep each other safe.
"Whether it was wearing a mask, getting vaccinated or embracing the challenges of online instruction, know that you played a significant role in getting us here today," Robbins said. "Because of the continued Wildcat spirit, our mission has been sustained and we can gather to enjoy all that the University of Arizona has to offer."
Provost and senior vice president for academic affairs Liesl Folks led a second ceremony in the afternoon.
"Today, we honor not only those lives lost, but also the resilience of our community. As we gather today, we celebrate our hope for the future – and I celebrate our unity," Folks said.
The events, which also included music, poetry, prayers, shared stories and refreshments, were hosted by the UArizona Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of the Provost and the University Religious Council. See more in this video.