Submitted by Dr. Dan Hanson
Following this spring’s historic floods of the Missouri River, I can only express my admiration and thanks to everyone that assisted Peru State College and its community. While these floods have been a trial and a tragedy, they have proven that the College is rich in friends, embraced by the City of Peru, and home to determined, capable students, faculty and staff.
Thank you to our students for their grit and determination. Students volunteered to fill and place sandbags, move the belongings of flood victims, and serve our community in a variety of ways too numerous to list here. They also accepted with grace our decision to close campus. Taking friends and neighbors with them, students visited the homes of friends, relatives and even faculty. Moreover, when we returned to campus after two days of missed classes, students resumed their education as if there had been no interruption. I am also proud to say that not only did our campus community accept water conservation efforts, but we excelled at them, reducing our water consumption well below average for the rest of the semester.
I also want to say thank you to our faculty and staff for their efforts during this time. They, too, volunteered and aided flood victims. Faculty and staff opened their homes to students and, when we returned to campus, worked closely with anyone affected by the flooding. Resources were found, deadlines were extended and compassion was the rule. Our long tradition of a personal and engaging education was lived each day by our faculty and staff.
Peru State’s amazing network of alumni and friends deserves special recognition. I cannot count how many calls Elaine or I received asking about our students, faculty and staff. Every call was an offer of help – I know many similar offers were made to other members of the College community. Thank you for the cases of bottled water and all the resources you brought to the College and our community – by the pallet and by the truck load. Thank you for every time you asked what else the College or the town needed.
I also want to express my appreciation for the efforts of the City of Peru, its Council, Mayor Darrin Reeves, Nemaha County Emergency Management and Auburn Public Works to return the College and community to business as usual. From assisting in re-opening the College those first few days to providing clean water, these groups have continually worked to support the College and its students. It seems like a small thing, but we should not underestimate how important it is that our students and visitors can eat off of real plates, drink out of the water fountains and otherwise enjoy fresh, clean water.
After a long summer, we enter the fall semester with great hope. The College enrolled the largest freshman class in at least 30 years. To everyone that supported the College and our community, thank you. Your outpouring of support was heart-warming. We hope that all of you can join us at a home football game on September 14. We want to recognize your contributions to Peru State and our community.