The Nation's Grief and our Commitment to You

An Open Letter to the Capella University Community

I stand with Capella University learners, alumni, faculty, staff and all Americans nationwide in outrage, sadness, and disgust surrounding the tragic death of George Floyd and the many other members of the Black community who have been targeted by racism and bigotry.

This horrific event has left me sickened, angry, and heartbroken.

I also deeply share the grief our nation is feeling, and as a resident of south Minneapolis, few moments pass in the day when I am not thinking of Mr. Floyd’s family and friends.

My thoughts are also with Black and Brown Capella learners, alumni, faculty and staff who continue to be victims of systemic racism across the nation every day.

We all have more work to do to rid our nation of the indignities rooted in inequity. Throughout my life, I’ve witnessed countless times the power of education to transform lives. In fact, this is a time when our actions – not our words – matter most. I urge our learners, and all of us, to identify ways to put our collective talents and skills to use in our communities to make a positive change.

In partnership with our parent company Strategic Education, Inc. (SEI), Capella will continue to support efforts to foster social justice and provide our learners with support in these difficult times, and provide opportunities for our faculty and staff throughout the nation to give back to their communities. Our commitment began last week with the following and will not end here.

Initial Support for our Communities, Learners, and Employees

Supporting Minneapolis and all our communities

We’ve provided financial support to two organizations that are helping our hometown of Minneapolis heal: the Minneapolis YWCA and Lake Street Council. These two wonderful organizations are facilitating community conversations on race and supporting the recovery of small and minority-owned businesses to assist in rebuilding this city.

Because our employees live throughout the United States, we are increasing volunteer time off for every employee so they may use up to 24 hours of paid time to support their home communities across the nation during this time of need.

Supporting Capella University Learners and all our Employees

For our Capella University learners around the nation who need support during this difficult time, we encourage you to utilize the existing LifeWorks resources available to you for help and healing.

LifeWorks provides confidential support and resources to support you through work, family, finances, and health concerns and challenges. Capella learners can find LifeWorks login information on this Campus page to access those resources immediately. 

We have also created support circles for employees across our organization to come together for support, healing, and an opportunity to learn and listen so we can all do better moving forward with greater understanding and commitment to each other.

It is our responsibility as a higher education institution to help create a more fair, informed, and compassionate world where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. We at Capella University recommit ourselves to that important endeavor, and we ask you to hold us accountable along the way as we continue to look for ways to do this better.

Dick Senese, PhD LP


Capella University