It was all laughs, cheer and in-person camaraderie at Chapman University’s Staff Summit kickoff event on Monday, July 19, in Musco Center for the Arts.
The celebration marked one of the first in-person events of any kind for staff and administrators since the start of the pandemic. Befittingly, the theme for this year’s summit is “reunion,” with events held throughout the week that are designed to foster community engagement and a spirit of togetherness.
Defying the Odds and Coming Out Stronger
The opening remarks by Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Brian Powell shined a light on the unwavering dedication and resiliency demonstrated by Chapman staff, even amidst the challenges brought on by COVID-19.
“This campus really defied the odds in the past 18 months,” said Powell. “It has been a very difficult year behind us, now let’s look forward with optimism. This week is about celebrating our wonderful staff who go above and beyond everyday, every week, every year.”
President Daniele Struppa also took the stage to share his personal reflections on the past 18 months and to offer advice for navigating what’s ahead.
“I ask you to be patient with yourself,” said Struppa. “Let’s give ourselves a little bit of time, just like we did back in March, as we move back into this new direction knowing that we’ve built a stronger institution.”
For staff who joined in the festivities, the event was a meaningful change of pace after a challenging year.
“The Staff Reunion kickoff was a pleasant sight to see after most of our staff was remote for the past 17 months,” said Financial Assistant at the Office of Human Resources Erick Garcia. “Despite the obstacles and hardships that most had to overcome during that time, there was an overwhelming sense of gratification to see our colleagues reunite, connect and welcome new members into our community. It has me looking forward to the rest of this week as we move forward and create new memories.”