June 22, 2020   |  Campus Communication

PRESIDENTIAL MESSAGE: We Are Ready to Return for Fall

BenU, we are ready!

We have heard from many of our students and their families and understand the strong desire to restore the on-campus experience this fall. We as Benedictine faculty and staff share in that desire, and today I am thrilled to give you an overview of our plans, intention, and commitment to safely welcome students, faculty, and staff back to our Mesa and Lisle campuses and residential buildings in August.

We are ready to welcome students back to campus.

We appreciate your patience as our COVID-19 Return to Campus Taskforce works around the clock to deploy best practices to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment. We will be releasing the full details of their plan in the coming weeks. However, there are some highlights I want to share with you today:

  • Classes will begin on campus in Lisle and Mesa on Monday, August 31 as scheduled, but both campuses will implement a modified fall calendar.
  • We will shift to an engaging and robust virtual campus following Thanksgiving Break, with two weeks of online instruction followed by a virtual final exam period.
  • Throughout the semester, Benedictine will institute a hybrid BenU-Flex model of learning, which includes both in-person classes and online instruction to meet student needs while keeping our community safe. Over the next few weeks, Chief Academic Officer and Provost, Dr. Ken Newbold, will share more details about the BenU-Flex model, any schedule changes and additional academic resources to address all of your questions.  
  • University housing on both the Lisle and Mesa campuses will be opening this fall. Students will continue to receive updates from the University housing staff on move-in procedures over the next few weeks.
  • Students, faculty, staff and guests on campus will all be expected to follow guidelines outlined by the CDC, including practicing social distancing, wearing masks in public spaces and washing hands frequently. Changes are already underway on both campuses to rework classrooms, common spaces and office space to ensure a safe working and learning environment for all.
  • We are holding for an official start date for the fall athletic seasons as we await more guidance from the NCAA, NAIA, as well as our athletic conference partners in Arizona and Illinois. We will update you as soon as possible.

Because every day brings new research and experiences, our COVID-19 Return to Campus Taskforce will continue to consult daily with local medical experts, faculty, facility professionals, local and state governments in Illinois and Arizona, as well as the CDC.

While our well-planned “Six-Foot Campus” may look a little different, we will continue to lean on our University hallmarks as our collective health will also be incumbent on everyone’s dedication to responsible and vigilant hygiene, distancing and protective protocols.

We are ready to return to the workplace. 

Our employees and faculty have been united in their resolve to ensure the Benedictine University community is prepared for a healthy return.

If all continues as planned (following state recommendations), Monday, July 13 will be our official start date for faculty and staff to begin to return to work on campus. We will take a phased-in approach for welcoming the majority of our workforce back to our “Six-Foot Campus.” We have a plan, but there is still much physical work to do to prepare for a safe return to our workplace.

More information about the campus protocols, staggered return schedules, and our flexible approach will be communicated to staff and faculty in detail by Pat Ariano, Chief of Staff, and Dr. Newbold over the next week. 

We are ready. We are united. We are Benedictine.

We are ready, not just for a return to campus, but to address all the issues 2020 has brought to the forefront, head-on. This is a pivotal moment for Benedictine. As a University, we are united to serve as inclusive, loving stewards prepared to ignite the world and transform our global community. As dreamers, helpers, and doers, our community is prepared to start the heavy lifting required to achieve justice, peace, and unconditional love.

We don’t have all the answers right now, but we do know we will be ready to deliver a fulfilling and engaging BenU experience this fall semester. Our teams are planning a variety of communication and virtual moments to ensure everyone is well informed and has a clear vision of protocols, expectations and opportunities available as we return for the fall 2020 semester. 

I extend my deepest gratitude for the tireless dedication, unwavering passion for our school and mission, and the countless hours of collaboration each individual in our BenU community has invested to prepare us for the fall. Our faculty and staff are dedicated to providing students with the time and personalized attention required to ensure delivery of high-quality academic enrichment and a transformative experience to prepare them to lead a life of integrity beyond our campuses.

Stay tuned for more important updates and information from myself and BenU leadership. Stay focused on your commitment to safety and protecting one another’s health and well-being. And stay vigilant in your dedication to being kind and good to one other.



Charles Gregory
Benedictine University


For questions, please contact:

Lisle Campus

Academics – Colleen Hanna (channa@ben.edu | 630-829-6240)
Athletics – Paul Nelson (pnelson@ben.edu | 630-829-6144)
Housing – Liz Velez (evelez@ben.edu | 630-829-6496)
Return to Work – Kimberly Viehmann (kviehmann@ben.edu | 630-829-6004)
Student Affairs – Marco Masini (mmasini@ben.edu | 630-829-6006)

Mesa Campus

Kevin Broeckling (kbroeckling@ben.edu | 602-888-5507)
Jessica Jelinek (jjelinek@ben.edu | 602-888-5532)

COVID Response & Resource Center
Email: COVIDResponse@ben.edu
Phone:  630-829-6039