Looking Back at 2020

During a mostly challenging year, plenty of moments to remember with Suffolk pride

Do you remember what life was like a year ago today? Throughout 2020, domestic politics and a global pandemic changed our lives in unprecedented ways. One thing remains unchanged, however: the ability of Suffolk University and our community to adapt to whatever the new year rings in.

Suffolk students ventured to Myanmar for Alternative Winter Break.

Just as they have since the program began in 2007, students participated in 2020’s Alternative Winter Break, helping Habitat for Humanity build homes for people in Myanmar and Cambodia. Above, a Suffolk student leads local children in a game.

Suffolk students posing for a photo with Rep. Ayanna Pressley during The Washington Center's seminar.

Closer to home, students headed to the nation’s capital for the two-week Inside Washington Seminar. There they met and spoke with lawmakers, journalists, and political advisors. Above, Suffolk students pose for a photo with U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).

A eerily still and quiet scene on Washington Street outside the Modern Theatre.

In March, the growing COVID-19 pandemic began upending our lives. Students left our residence halls and classrooms. Above, Washington Street outside the Modern Theatre is eerily still.

Yet, life at Suffolk went on. We swiftly transformed classes into hybrid or fully online experiences, and we all learned our way around Zoom. Below, Suffolk student Jocelyn De Paz attends a Zoom class from home.

Suffolk student Jocelyn De Paz attending class virtually.

Suffolk's IT staff meet over Zoom to coordinate efforts for virtual work support.

The Center for Teaching & Scholarly Excellence quickly stepped up, working with faculty to optimize their curricula for effective online delivery. Above, Suffolk's ITS staff meets virtually.

Suffolk staff volunteers operating the phone center as the community goes remote for Covid.

Suffolk’s often unheralded ITS staff worked tirelessly to keep all systems operating as smoothly as possible. As new virtual classroom technology and schedules were rolled out, employees from across the University volunteered to staff a call center and field questions from the community. Above, staff members help in the call center.

No matter what, Suffolk continued to do what we do best—helping those in need, especially those in our own community

The Suffolk men's soccer team practices while wearing masks.

Though Suffolk Rams teams saw their league competitions cut short by the pandemic, bright spots remained. For instance, men’s basketball coach Jeff Juron was honored with the Collegiate Basketball Officials Association’s prestigious Schoenfeld Sportsmanship Award. Teams continued to practice in pods, adhering to health guidance. Above, the men's soccer team warms up while masked up.

Suffolk's PAO Director Kristin Baker during SpringFest's finale video.

The pandemic changed many annual traditions, but it could not stop them. For SpringFest, the Performing Arts Office's weeklong extravaganza, the show did indeed go on. Above, PAO Director Kristin Baker sends her love.

A quiet Commencement stage.

To protect our community and the general public, Suffolk postponed May ceremonies. Plans for a double commencement are in the works for this spring. Above, the Commencement stage awaits attendees in 2016.

Dave Merry poses for a portrait on Beacon Street.

In early summer, the Center for Career Education and Professional Development welcomed Dave Merry, who will spearhead this resource's continued reinvigoration. Above, Merry poses for a portrait on Beacon Street.

As the presidential and congressional campaigns roiled the United States throughout the summer, Suffolk’s Political Research Center kept pace, conducting polls and offering analysis of races across the country. Suffolk experts led conversations about politics during the pandemic.

A photo taken by a Suffolk student during the social justice demonstrations in Boston.

The high-profile killings of Black Americans at the hands of police led to nationwide demonstrations against systemic racial injustice and police violence. Suffolk students and alumni joined the demonstrations, speaking ardently and eloquently about the continuing need for meaningful change. Above, Suffolk student Patrick Lovelace captures the scene during a demonstration in Boston.

Portraits of outgoing Sawyer Business School Dean Bill O'Neill and incoming Dean Amy Zeng.

In a decanal transition, William J. O’Neill, Jr. (above, left), who led the Sawyer Business School for nearly 20 years, retired. Suffolk welcomed incoming dean Amy Zeng (above, right) to the SBS helm

Suffolk students pushing a cart full of belongings into One Court Street on move-in weekend.

The awning of the Ames Building, now owned by Suffolk University and operated as a residence hall.

Summer closed with a modified move-in day. As in past years, students still heaved boxes and pushed bins through the doors of our residence halls. 2020 also witnessed the first group of students moving into our newest residence hall in the historic Ames Building. Above, Suffolk students roll into their new home at One Court Street (the Ames Building); this new awning above the entrance greets residents.

Suffolk staff member taking a Covid test at an on-campus testing facility.

The year wound down with the record-setting development of safe and effective vaccines against the novel coronavirus. The Suffolk Political Research Center surveyed the American public on this issue and found growing numbers willing to be vaccinated. Above, an on-campus testing facility through a partnership with the Broad Institute helps protect our community.

A Suffolk student wears a mask while taking notes in Sargent Hall.

We enter 2021 after a year like few others. But we haven’t simply weathered 2020’s challenges; we’ve overcome them. In ordinary times, the Suffolk experience builds skills, resilience, and wisdom. In extraordinary times, it does all this and more—producing uncommon perspective and resolve in our students, graduates, and greater community. Above, a Suffolk student taking notes in class. Below, Associate Professor of English Amy Monticello leads a writing course.

Suffolk faculty member Amy Monticello wears a mask while teaching a class in Sargent Hall.



Jennifer Becker
Office of Marketing & Communications

Alex J. Martin
Office of Marketing & Communications

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