We are reaching you with three special issues this spring and summer – combining STATE, the magazine of the CSU System, and Colorado State Magazine, the publication for alumni and supporters of our flagship university. These issues are smaller, more frequent, and are mailed to a combined readership. This allows us to conserve resources while staying in touch during a critical time.

It is stunning to consider: A microbe is behind this. A germ – something we cannot see – sparked the COVID-19 pandemic and is wreaking havoc on human health and economies.

Here are a few more things we cannot see, things essential to getting through: ideas, knowledge, determination, and humanity.

Colorado State University and the CSU System are reaching out to you in this historic moment because you are in our closest circle – alumni, coworkers, parents, partners, policymakers, supporters, friends. People who, like us, care deeply about higher education and its critical role in preparing leaders, developing a skilled workforce, driving a vibrant economy, and improving quality of life in Colorado and around the world. This work has proved vital many times over; now it is essential to recovery.

Just two months ago, as the pandemic grew urgent in the United States, the mechanics of higher education took the fore. Our physical campuses emptied; our work moved online. Our faculty and students convened using tools of the Internet. Our staff worked remotely to support academic missions in teaching, research, and engagement. Our leaders also collaborated virtually to quell the spread of disease. This is innovation in action, involving tens of thousands of students, faculty, and staff.

Yet, these mechanics are a means to our real work: ensuring an energetic flow of ideas, knowledge, determination, and humanity for the benefit of society. Discovery is the heart of our work, and it is heartening to see untiring commitment to it across our campuses, even as they have functioned largely in a virtual sphere.

Normally, our team would be producing the June issue of STATE, the magazine of the CSU System, followed by the September issue of Colorado State Magazine, the publication for CSU alumni and friends. But this is not a normal time, not by a long shot. So our plans changed; we’re reaching you with three special issues that save resources and help us stay connected at a pivotal time.

With these issues, we hope to share a sense of how our System and campuses are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic to uphold our higher-education tenets and goals. After all, you have shaped and embodied this work – carrying it into the communities of Colorado and beyond.

In this edition, you’ll find stories about Colorado State University’s internationally regarded expertise in infectious disease, which dates to the school’s earliest years. Our System and campus leaders share their thoughts about recovery and the value of our academic programs, brought into sharp relief by the pandemic. You’ll learn about one of the System’s most prominent initiatives, the new Spur campus, which is forging ahead. You will also meet an alumna, Angie Paccione, head of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, who is working around the clock on behalf of colleges, universities – and students.

Thank you for your shared commitment to students, to discovery, and to the future.