Editor’s note

By Coleman Cornelius
March 15, 2021

Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, scholars have noted that William Shakespeare rarely wrote about the bubonic plague. Yet pestilence repeatedly surged through England during the great playwright’s lifetime, with devastating results.

Instead of an explicit presence, infectious disease is a subtext in much of Shakespeare’s writing.

As destructive as it has been, COVID- 19 often lurks in ways that recall Shakespeare: not always discussed, not always the top concern at a given moment; but there, shadowing our lives and livelihoods.

Last summer, STATE magazine published three special issues focused on CSU System and campus responses to the pandemic. Now, we return to issues highlighting a wide range of System programs and people.

And yet, COVID-19 is a through line. It is seen in the pressing need for tuition aid among financially stressed Colorado students. It is seen in demand for Pueblo chile as a comfort food. Seen in an intensified interest on online higher education. Seen in CSU donation gardens that blossomed to improve food security.

A note about these stories: The photography you’ll see was planned and executed with close attention to COVID-19 health protocols in the times and places subjects are pictured. We were careful about outdoor locations, distancing, and masking as required. (In some cases, masks aren’t in the frame but are prevalent behind the camera.)

As we anticipate congratulating a new cohort of graduates this spring, we also eagerly anticipate the 2021-2022 academic year. We will welcome it for rewarding, in-person learning at our physical campuses – out of the shadows, to the degree possible.